Tells the story of gambling, beginning with its early emergence from divination rituals and ending with todays global gaming culture. Looks at the betting games people have played since the dawn of history, and argues that gambling has always been a crucial part of the human experience. Begins with the rolling of knucklebones in prehistoric times, progresses through the casting of lots portrayed in the Bible and sacred Hindu writings, and traces gaming through the heights of the Greek and Roman civilizations. Continues through the Middle Ages, investigating the mysterious invention of playing cards in twelfth-century China, the birth of the casino and table games such as baccarat in Venice, and the British Empires work in spreading gambling throughout the world. Describes how lotteries financed some of the first American colonies, how gambling prospered in the Civil War and the Old West, how organized crime exploded in the twentieth century by running illegal gambling operations, and how gambling dollars transformed Las Vegas into the worlds number-one tourist destination.