The dramatic growth in Internet backgammon over the past decade and a half come a fashionable youth leisure activity, appears in large part to have been propelled by the popularity of backgammon gambling, yet those with a broader knowledge of the backgammon story realize that backgammon online has developed according to the tradition of the game, rather than as a dramatic new departure. Backgammon gambling has a long history, and its appearance in an online format represents a continuance of this tradition.
True, many people start to play backgammon when they are still children. It is common for children to get introduced to the game from their school friends or family. A backgammon set with the familiar backgammon board, dice and counters is soon purchased from pocket money, or a birthday present, and in a short while the child picks up the backgammon rules and starts developing their backgammon skills. At this stage the game is usually played for the entertainment value alone. However, as the child grows up and perhaps decides to join a backgammon club or even to take parts in tournaments, the chance of winning prizes provides a fresh, and welcome additional motivation to improving their playing skills. Once the player develops strategies to help them improve the way they play backgammon, they commonly consider playing for stakes with a certain confidence that they are going to win.
From the earliest days of backgammon in the Middle East the gambling factor has been an important factor in the game. The Roman version of backgammon, known as tabula, was entirely focused on playing for money. Since the concepts of leisure times and playing a game for sheer fun are relatively modern ideas, it seems reasonable to assume that for most of its long history backgammon has been played for money rather than the sheer enjoyment along. Although the pleasure element has certainly always been present, the gambling has probably been the dominant aspect.
When the developers of online backgammon created their sites, clearly they saw gambling as a key element that would attract patrons. Like the traditional backgammon board game, they provide many opportunities for people to play for fun alone, for example, the backgammon computer makes a fascinating opponent for players of various skill levels. However, the possibilities of competing against fellow backgammon enthusiasts from around the world and winning sums of money exceeding the amounts that can be won in many local games, act as a draw to new players who would not be attracted to the same extent by playing for pleasure alone. What has effectively happened is the globalization of a traditional backgammon game for stakes. Instead of the people assembled in the local tavern or café, the potential pool of players has been extended to everyone around the world who has Internet access. At the same time the availability of games has been expanded to allow players to find a game at a time that suits them, without even having to leave the comfort of their own home.