These days, visiting a casino or indulging in a spot of online gambling on a great platform such as EnergyWin casino online, is considered to be a relaxing and peaceful activity – however, betting has also, over the decades, proved to be a welcome distraction during wartime.
For soldiers being sent to war – some as young as 16 years of age – life could be stressful and uncertain and, for these heroes, it was vital to find a means of distraction during their down time. Although soldiers would, for the most part, not have much to gamble with, betting was an incredibly popular pastime across a number of wars, including:
The World Wars
World wars I and II provided the first taste of international travel for thousands of young men, and offered an opportunity to share their favorite games with overseas soldiers and to learn some new ones in the process. During the second world war in particular, Blackjack and Craps became extremely popular with American GIs as a pack of cards was standard issue for most military personnel. During this time, slot machines also began to appear in clubs overseas – machines which would often deplete American soldiers’ meagre pay packets.
The Vietnam War
Despite gambling being prohibited in Vietnam, during this conflict, hundreds of slot machines were operated within the country by the army, navy, marine corps and air force. Although these were highly popular, many were destroyed in 1972 amid a congressional investigation into manipulation and embezzlement.
The American Civil War
This legendary battle was anything but ordinary – and neither was the gambling activity of choice. During this war, lice racing was the go-to game, whereby competing lice would be placed in the middle of a tin plate and, the winner would be the first louse to climb over the lip of the plate. Soldiers would carry their prize winning lice in matchboxes.
These days, gambling and betting are a much more relaxed affair (and thankfully lice racing has been consigned to history), however, these stories show that, as far back as the American Civil War, gambling provided a welcome respite from reality for soldiers who never knew if each day would be their last.