Ever since Hollywood began its love affair decades ago with the myth and mystery of Ancient Egypt, it’s been engrained into Western Society that the imagery of Kings, Pharaohs and Sphinx’s relates to glory, greatness and wealth. Las Vegas is home to the third biggest pyramid in the world, as well as the infamous Sphinx, so it’s no wonder the time period is so popular in the gambling world.
Gaming in the Ancient World
While they didn’t have slot machines (shocker), the ancient Egyptians did still have gambling. Cards making their way from China passed through Persia and the Middle East on their way to Europe (as well as other games). These transitioned into Mamluk cards, cards that held the familiar suits of Persian games (Swords, Polo Sticks, Cups and Coins) but featured intricate and beautiful artwork. Card playing was a hobby solely reserved for the high-born, something only accessible to the wealthy elite and prosperous. There have also been recovered finds of dice with multiple sides, carved from bone and of excessive size, that were believed to have been used to gamble but there aren’t many records as to what games are associated with them.
You don’t see much in the way of Mamluk cards nowadays in casinos, so what might be the reason so many casinos use the iconography? One of the many reasons Casinos & online slots have such a taste of Egyptian imagery is the affiliation with wealth. Even if you set aside the enormous pyramids that served as tombs and grave markers, and have remained standing long into the present day, there’s always the sheer wealth of the finds inside. Ever since Howard Carter uncovered the tomb of Tutankhamun and discovered thousands of objects made in gold and ivory, the pyramids and the pharaohs within have been seen as symbols of prosperity and the pyramids themselves almost as giant caches of treasure. Nowadays, raiding tombs is something few archaeologists get near to, but the cultural association with hidden wealth is perfect for someone looking to have a flutter at the casino.
In modern day Egypt, although many heavily religious nations look down on betting, the country allows gambling provided you don’t have an Egyptian passport. It’s also known to have more casinos than any other Arab nation to date. Because of its heavy tourist traffic, Egypt is the most welcoming of all Arabian countries to foreigners and occupies a key tourist spot along the Mediterranean coast that makes it easy to get to Cairo from Alexandria and enjoy a bit of a flutter.
Although many tourists are more likely to head to Reno or Vegas if they fancy winning big whilst seeing the pyramids, Egypt still has plenty of things to offer the avid gambler!