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Gaming among the ancient Roman emperors , chapter 4, page 1

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Casino Gambling in history

CHAPTER IV. page 6

It seems that the Romans played for ready money, and had not
invented that multitude of signs by the aid of which, without
being retarded by the weight of gold and silver, modern gamblers
can ruin themselves secretly and without display.

The rage for gambling spread over the Roman provinces, and among
barbarous nations who had never been so much addicted to the vice
as after they had the misfortune to mingle with the Romans.

The evil continued to increase, stimulated by imperial example.
The day on which Didius Julianus was proclaimed Emperor, he
walked over the dead and bloody body of Pertinax, and began
to play at dice in the next room.[36]

[36] Dion Cass. _Hist. Rom_. l. lxxiii.

At the end of the fourth century, the following state of things
at Rome is described by Gibbon, quoting from Ammianus

`Another method of introduction into the houses and society of
the "great," is derived from the profession of gaming; or, as
it is more politely styled, of play. The confederates are united
by a strict and indissoluble bond of friendship, or rather of
conspiracy; a superior degree of skill in the "tessarian" art,
is a sure road to wealth and reputation. A master of that
sublime science who, in a supper or assembly, is placed below a
magistrate, displays in his countenance the surprise and
indignation which Cato might be supposed to feel when he was
refused the praetorship by the votes of a capricious

[37] Amm. Marcellin. lib. XIV. c. vi.

Finally, at the epoch when Constantine abandoned Rome never to
return, every inhabitant of that city, down to the populace, was
addicted to gambling.

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