A Comprehensive History of Sportsbetting
Betting and gambling are two activities that have been going on for as long as we can remember. Ever since sports have become a popular past time for the people to indulge in, trying to guess the outcome of a match has become another interesting activity that sports fans enjoy. Sports betting took off in the US possibly due to the inherent nature of the population to take risks. After all, the United States was founded by people who were willing to take up risks in the hope of finding new horizons. So it is but natural for their successors to play with risks. The early years of the transition of America saw an attraction to horse races, brawls as well as cockfights, something that their European predecessors took great delight in. In the initial period sports betting were more an act of leisure. Today, apart from being an act of leisure sports betting has metamorphosed into a big business generating millions of dollars and influencing the world economy. The fact still remains that when there are opposing forces; chances are that there will be people who will bet on either side.
Sports betting are a multi-billion dollar industry and countries that legalize sports betting activities generate massive revenues. People not only bet on sports like basketball or football or the horse races, they also bet on the outcomes of some social and cultural events. So, it is not surprising to find wagers being placed on the outcome of the American elections or the Oscars. Neither is the phenomenon limited to the United States. Sports betting are now an international activity with people betting on outcomes of matches being played in far off lands. In fact, you might want to bet for your country winning the next Baseball or Rugby. According to surveys of the past decade, sports betting are an emerging activity and are steadily increasing by the day. Online betting has only widened the scope of the activity. Even with online gaming restrictions in the US, a whopping 15% of the population bet on sports, generating billions of dollars a year. It is a massive industry and steadily growing.
There are a number of factors that contributed to the development of sports betting as we see it today. For a couple of centuries and even more, sportsbetting has developed into a massive industry and it is not a local happening anymore. It is a global phenomenon that is supported by a lot of people across the world. This activity is here to stay and it will become more sophisticated in the coming years. Even with the government regulations for the said activity it will likely stay and grow even further to become more powerful.
Horse racing- 19th century
During the 19th and 20th centuries horse racing was the sport of choice and people bet on the horses. Those in the upper reaches of society during that period had the means and the money to indulge in horse racing. After the American Civil War, horse tracks began sprouting like mushrooms and the scope of bettors included the middle class and all others who could now go to the race tracks and place their wagers on the horse that they thought would win.
In the early days of horse racing, there was what we call auction pools. This involved making a bet for each horse that would play on the track. However, this trend did not last long. The bettors could go out of luck if the horse was already taken. Then came the concept of bookies. Back then, this was an innovative approach to betting. In this method, placing odds on the horses could increase the handle and could boost the hold of the bookies. If the trend pointed to a certain horse, the bookmaker would lower the odds on the other horses. This would make the other horses more attractive to bet on. This method is implemented even today.
The 1920s saw the peak of the horse racing industry. There were more than 300 racetracks and aside from that, there were thousands of pool halls which were connected using the telegraph wires. This way, bettors could bet on multiple horses across the country. Horse racing had a very lucrative run but it declined considerably in the 1930s. It has still remained as a popular sport to bet on but when other sports became popular and professional leagues started showing up, the industry saw the popularity of horse racing diminish to some extent.
At the latter part of the 1800s, baseball has become an emerging sport and so many started betting on baseball outcomes. During that time, in the east, there are so called pool cards and this has become the standard in the East. The cards can be said the precursors of the Parlays cards and they offer the bettors a massive option to place bets on top of which, for as little as 10 cents, the common man could place bets too thereby democratized betting so to speak. Sadly, when it comes to the odds, they are skewed very badly in favor of the house which means that very few bettors will be able to make a decent profit. However, the pleasure of the experience seems to overshadow this disadvantage. That or the bettors do not see the effect of spending cent by cent while bookmakers earn by the dollar.
In 1919, there was a big scandal called the BlackSox Scandal. Apparently the players of Chicago White Sox deliberately lost the game at the instruction of the bookies. The players were paid massive amounts to do so. The bookies raked in even bigger profits. But when the news of the secret deal was leaked to the press, all hell broke lose. However, this particular event was not enough to put an end to betting because by then, sports betting either as a way of life or for fun had taken firm roots amongst the people and there was no going back on it.
College football and basketball-1920s
Despite the BlackSox Scandal sports betting became quite popular and of late, more sporting events have been added. So if there is some sports that excites you, you can probably bet on it.
Now, more than ever, Sports betting has gone global. Millions of people across the world bet on various sports and there are so many options to choose from. Of course the rules have tightened and element of transparency has been brought in. Now, we see a lot of betting centers and it is also very prevalent online so you should try it for yourself and see what the buzz is about.