Did you know that the worldwide sports betting industry has reached a market size of $203 billion by 2021? The truth is that sports betting has been around for many years, although it is not possible to pinpoint exactly when it started.
Where did sports betting originate?
It is believed that the Greeks started betting during the Olympic Games when spectators bet on those they expected to win. Previously, bets were made between people belonging to the same social strata, such as between nobles. It was in the late 19th C when gambling became a sport. The Union of French Athletic Sports Societies was created that replaced “gambling” with “sport” and shortly thereafter this union, dedicated to athletics, began to open up to sports such as field hockey, rugby, swimming, etc.
In Rome, gamblers bet on gladiator games. When these were discontinued, betting did not stop and this practice spread to other places. Although sports betting was forced underground due to religious pressure, it continued to survive as more and more sporting events were introduced.
During the Industrial Revolution, bookies began horse betting; these were most popular in the United Kingdom in the 16th-17th centuries. However, it was mostly done by aristocrats. The races were usually held privately, but Charles II was passionate about horse racing, and soon large crowds began betting on them. At that time, the main sponsors were pub and shipyard owners, and they usually organized these races closer to their establishments. Then it was the original bookmakers who organized steeplechases. It was in St. Alban’s stable in 1826 that horse racing emerged as an idea, and this gave rise to the modern racecourses.
Laws, Rules and Difficulties
The betting system was unregulated, and the betting was based on a credit system. The British government banned gambling near alcoholic places. So betting stores were set up by bookies when the Gambling Act of 1845 was adopted. These betting shops kept records of all transactions in records and arbitrated betting. They became intermediaries with whom gamblers had to bet, but they did not bet against gamblers. The arbitrators were there to officiate the bets, not just to settle disputes.
Earlier cash bets were not in use, but they eventually came into use during horse races when bookies started offering fixed odds. Even in France, betting on horse races was legalized. In the US, casual gambling had been prevalent before it was legalized. While horse betting was common, it was mainly restricted to the elite. When professional baseball came to the scene in 1876, sports betting began to gain popularity. It was in 1931 that sports betting was legalized in Nevada at casinos in Las Vegas.
Online betting began to develop since 1995 alongside traditional betting companies in the UK. The initial sites like Intertops were created based on a law passed in 1994 that gave licenses to companies that wanted to offer gambling services on the Internet. BetFair was created in 2000 and this revolutionized the betting industry; it allowed customers to place bets between them. Live betting first appeared in 2002, when bettors had the opportunity to place bets while a game was in progress. So sports betting has indeed come a long way since the Greeks first used it and it is not likely to disappear any time soon.
In recent years, studies have shown that this segment generated more revenue than all the famous fast food chains in the USA combined, which shows that it is a solid market with an increasing growth. The emergence of the internet in the 1990s was essential to the explosion of this industry, with bookmakers and casinos making it possible for millions of people to access their businesses. Regardless of the era, betting has always had a strong meaning, such as conquering territories, generating income and benefits, motivation for scientific and mathematical studies, as well as leisure and fun.