Gaming-related social problems are as old as gaming itself.
In Roman times, gaming was restricted to one week of the year, during the
Saturnalia festival (equivalent to the Christmas and New Year holidays).
However this did not deter Roman players, who continued to gamble in private
houses and clubs. Even when fines (equivalent to four times the stakes) were
introduced for players caught gambling, the Romans managed to evade the law by
using engraved discs, called "roundels", instead of money.
Almost as soon as playing cards were introduced to Europe,
they were opposed. In Paris, legislation prohibiting playing cards was passed
in 1377, and in Italy, playing cards and dice were burned.
In the USA, many attempts were made to prevent gambling.
Early Puritan settlers initially banned the possession of gaming equipment,
but relented, allowing games for recreational purposes. Later legislation was
ineffective as it banned specific games. Players simply changed the names or
invented new games. By 1910 gambling was made illegal throughout the USA, but
due to widespread corruption among law enforcement officers, this law had