Gambling in the UK has existed for more than 2000 years. According to legend, Brutus of Troy defeated a pair of giants to establish “New Troy” near the banks of river Thames. Traces of Gambling have been found around 50 AD. The Roman then were famous for playing a board game named “Duodecim Scriptorum” which later evolved into Tabula and finally Backgammon.
William, the Conqueror made betting on the result of jousting events very popular in London. In 13th century, soldiers brought new forms of Gambling called “Hazard” to London. During the Renaissance, the betting became a craze when Henry VIII came to power. In 1649, Oliver Cromwell banned horse racing, gambling dens and cockfights. Charles II gave a major push to gambling during Renaissance when he assigned Sir Thomas Neale to oversee gambling in the entire city.
“Pedestrianism” became a new fad in London during 18th & 19th century. Wagers were made on the time required to run, walk or hop a given distance. The distances became larger as the wagers became larger. One of the great bets was of an amount of Euro 20,000 for walking to Constantinople in less than a year.
The great writer Jules Verne wrote a classic named “Around The World In 80 Days” that was based on the theme of Pedestranism. Motion pictures on the novel were made, one of them starring famous actor “Jackie Chan”.
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