Sports betting is one of the biggest gambling markets today. In 2020, the US sports betting market reached 1 billion USD in revenue. Most plays in sports betting today go through digital and electronic platforms. Yet, long before it reached this popularity and legalization, sports betting was prohibited.
When the Ancient Greeks created the Olympics, there’s a high likelihood that they also started placing bets on the various games. The Romans were definitely one of the first civilizations to legalize sports betting.
It wasn’t as sophisticated as betting on Lottabet with ₹50,000 CashBack in India. Most bets were placed on gladiator fights, chariot races, or the circus. Yet, it was enough for sports betting to gain popularity.
The evidence for sports betting in some earlier civilizations lies in their laws against it. Some scripts from Ancient Egypt featured laws written to control gambling. Even Ancient China created laws against betting on any game. In the medieval era, the church forbade gambling as it had become a popular pastime.
History of Sports Betting in the UK
Centuries of sports betting followed, and as time went on, the activity evolved. The UK in the 16th and 17th centuries featured the type of sports betting with which most people are familiar. At that time, bettors focused on horse races. Initially, it was only available to the aristocracy.
It began in Ireland, where horse riders raced from church tower to church tower while jumping over obstacles. The activity later became a pastime that common citizens enjoyed. The British government banned gambling in pubs after many disastrous incidents involving betting. This led to the opening of betting shops throughout the UK. Bookmakers or betting arbitrators kept track of bettors’ transactions.
History of Sports Betting in the US
The history of sports betting in the US also began with horse racing. Like in the UK, the earliest punters in the US were the elite, as they had money to spend. It wasn’t until 1876 that traditional sports betting developed. Professional baseball became popular that year, leading to gamblers betting on teams, players, and game results.
Even though it had become a popular pastime, sports betting only became legal in 1931 in Nevada. Casinos in Las Vegas were the first to make sports betting legal. However, bettors needed to personally go to the casino to place their bets physically. Since not everyone lived close to a casino, many punters had to find a local bookie to place their bets.
The mob saw this gap in the market and began offering sports wagering. It wasn’t legal, but it was the best option for many people. Yet, it made the activity risky because they couldn’t report dishonest bookies without admitting participation.
As years passed, the law and rules against gambling relaxed, and the government slowly began legalizing various forms of gambling, including sports betting. Today, sports betting is legal in 23 US states plus Washington DC, while three more states are considering legalizing it.
Sports Betting Today
Sports betting has progressed with technology in the last few decades. In the past, punters needed to visit casinos in Las Vegas to make legal sports bets. Today, anybody can place bets on online sportsbooks without leaving home or the office.
In the past, bettors needed to make time to watch the game in person. You needed to visit a stadium or racetrack to see the results of your bet. Today, you can stream games or matches on your computer or smartphone.
The process of betting money has been digitalized. Often, you don’t even need to touch money physically to make bets. You can find bookies with a simple browser search and read comparisons of them. Even the games have evolved, as you can bet on virtual games, fantasy sports, and eSports now, too.
From watching gladiator battles to streaming eSports matches, sports betting has come a long way. There is a possibility sports betting began earlier than we think, and it will likely evolve further than we can imagine. Nevertheless, it shows our adaptability, creativity, and a keen interest in exciting activities like this.
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