Leading all the way back to the “Legions of the Nile” in 1959, Hollywood has long had a love affair with the mysticism of Ancient Egypt and all that comes with it. From modern day Blockbusters, to video game series, and even branded roulette games, there’s no denying that the silver screen has a taste for the historical African nation. We take a look at what the obsession is with Egypt in the gaming world, how it associates with luck, and where the country stands on gambling, both now and in its long, rich past.
Whilst they were limited in the amount of slot machines they had (no surprise), the ancient Egyptians, much like their Greek and Roman counterparts did enjoy the ancient art of Gambling. Early versions of playing cards made their way from East Asia and passed through Persia across the Middle East on route to Europe. Over time, this tradition eventually became known as Mamluk cards, cards that held similar suits to their Persian counterpart’s games, but instead of Swords, Sticks, Cups and Coins, they instead featured breathtaking and beautiful, hand drawn artwork. Card playing was mostly considered a hobby exclusively reserved for the noble born, something only available to the wealthy elite and successful. Historians and archeologists have also found die with multiple sides, carved from bone that were believed to have been used for bets, however there is little information as to what games they were affiliated with.
Casino technology has come a long way since the early days, especially with so much computing power and technology available at the touch of a button, so why is gambling always so highly affiliated with Ancient Egypt? One of the numerous, almost endless reasons places like Vegas have such a love for Egyptian imagery is because of its affiliation with wealth. No expense was spared amongst high ranking royals, especially when you consider the grandiose pyramids that act as burial chambers. Many historians and archeologists have found hundreds of valuable jewels, gold, pieces of art etc., attesting to the sheer wealth these Kings and Queens had. Ever since the first discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, and the discovery of thousands of items of wealth the pyramids and the pharaohs inside have been associated with success and wealth.
Jump forward a few thousand years, and although many heavily religious cultures look negatively upon betting, the modern day Egypt allows gambling, provided you don’t own an Egyptian passport. Due to its high volume of tourism compared with other Arab nations (worth an estimated $12.5 billion), Egypt has considerably more casinos than any other Arab nation to date.
If you’re after a big win, you’re probably best to head to Monte Carlo or the city that never sleeps, however, if you want to see the sights and sounds of Ancient Egypt in real life, without simply seeing them made out of plastic and bright lights, then Egypt is without a doubt the place for you. Maybe you’ll soak in a little wealth from the Kings themselves!