Sports betting has been around for as long as sports have existed. It takes one of man’s favorite pastimes (i.e. sports) and makes it even more interesting by adding a personal stake in the outcome (i.e. gambling).
Origins of Sports Betting
The first record of sports betting dates back more than 2,000 years ago. The Greeks’ love of sports led them to introduce the Olympics to the world as well as the earliest records of betting on athletic competitions.
From the Greeks, sports betting spread to ancient Rome where it was eventually accepted even legalized. In particular, Romans bet on the gladiator games, and even when this ancient sporting event eventually came to a stop, gambling survived and continued to spread to other kingdoms.
During medieval times, some religious leaders tried to make laws forbidding it. This forced sports betting underground, where it continued to exist and even grow as new sporting events were introduced to the world.
Later in history, gambling became very popular in England in the form of horse race betting. The English spread the practice to the rest of the world, particularly the US, where it quickly became a favorite pastime for many people.
Overall, gambling has continued to grow worldwide and is very popular today, especially throughout Europe which has become the biggest sports betting market.
An expansion in the number of sports events that people can wager on has also helped improve the popularity of sports betting. Some of the sports you see today were not in existence more than a few centuries ago. Today, one can bet on a wide variety of sporting events from soccer to american football and everything in between.
Currently, sports betting is not just a fun activity, it is also a multi-billion dollar business generating huge profits for sportsbooks and casinos worldwide.
Recent Sports Betting History
In the fifties, Las Vegas legalized sports betting in their land based casinos making it appear legitimate in the eyes of many. The problem was that you had to walk into a casino to place your wager. If you weren’t close to Las Vegas you were out of luck if you wanted to place a bet.
The Las Vegas sports books handle billions of dollars in business every year, but it’s only a small percentage of the total amount bet in the United States. Much more betting volume is handled illegally by local bookies and offshore bookmakers.
For years the majority of sports bets in the United States were placed with local bookies. Bookies operate illegally, but are ignored by law enforcement for the most part.
In just about any jurisdiction in the world you can find an online book maker to take your bet. Many countries have ruled these operations illegal, but that hasn’t stopped them from taking bets anyway. They are located in jurisdictions that make it hard, or even impossible, to prosecute them so they continue offering book service to people around the world.
The same things that make these online sports books hard to regulate can also make them risky to place bets with. You can find plenty of online sports books that have solid track records and offer a safe betting experience, but you can also find many that have taken advantage of sports bettors.
Online Sports Betting
No other single factor has increased the growth of sports betting more than the advent of the internet. Before the internet, sports betting, though popular, was nowhere near as widespread as it is today. With the internet, people could place bets anytime from anywhere, on any device. As a result, sports betting has exploded ever since and continue to grow year after year.
No longer was there a need to visit a bookmaker to place your bets, or even attend the sporting events yourself in order to enjoy sports betting. From the comfort of your couch, you can now place bets as you watch the events live on your television.
With online betting, you can also see the betting lines change and this means you can find the best betting opportunities as the event unfolds, especially when betting on live sporting events.
Its now possible to bet on practically any event in the world. And why stop with sporting events? You can also bet on politics, entertainment shows, movie box office opening weekend numbers, eSports and much more. Visit NetBet for more betting options.
The Future of Sports Betting
People have been betting on sports for as long as sports have been played. There’s no reason to believe this will change in the future.
The two most popular sports to place bets on today are both called football. The worldwide game of football, called soccer in some areas, offers thousands of games every year where fans can place bets. American football, including both the NFL and college, is also responsible for billions of dollars of betting action every year.
Other popular sports to bet on include basketball, baseball and hockey. However, you can place bets on just about any sport you can think of. I’ve seen bets placed on badminton, horse racing, car racing, Olympic sports, pool, darts, golf, swimming and ostrich races.
The internet and smartphones continues to fuel the growth of sports betting. You used to need to make bets face to face with a person at a betting window. Now you can still do that, call or text your local bookie, walk into a sports book or log into an online sports book to place bets. Online sports betting sites are now even offering in-progress (i.e. live betting) betting that allows gamblers to bet in real time from tip off to the final whistle.
Perhaps the best example of the unstoppable growth and future of sports betting is daily fantasy sports (DFS). Sites like FanDuel and DraftKings allow customers to bet their teams and collect same day. DFS is legal in most jurisdictions in the United States and many feel that when sports betting does finally become legal, it will lead the way in making sports betting main stream.
Recently there has been a lot of talk in the media about the legalization of sports betting. Many States are trying to pass laws making it legal for them to allow sports betting and collect much needed tax revenues. Proponents include NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver and MLB Commissioner, Rob Manfred. There is little doubt that legalized sports betting is a matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if’.
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