Sport betting has a long history and will continue to evolve

Sports betting origins


Sports betting can be traced back over 2,000 years to the Greeks, who started the Olympics that still exist today. The Greek tradition quickly spread to Rome, which regularly hosted gladiator games to bet on. Eventually, the tradition of sports betting spread to England, which rather than gladiator games, were drawn to bet on the English tradition of horse racing.


The English spread their love of horse racing to the United States, which quickly embraced the tradition. In fact, by 1890, there were over 314 horse racing tracks opened within the United States. However, in 1910, the United States made any gambling in the United States illegal, resulting in the number of race tracks being reduced to just 23 by 1911.


What brought gambling back to the United States was the Great Depression, as the US government was desperate to come up with new ways for raising money for the New Deal. One of the major projects was the Hoover Dam Project, so gambling was legalized in Nevada to raise funds for the project.


Sportsbooks enter the market


Bookmakers saw the success Nevada was experiencing with Casinos and petitioned the state to be allowed to open sportsbooks in the state. By 1949 the state had agreed, and sports betting was made legal in Nevada. The bookkeepers were permitted to take bets on horse racing as well as professional sports such as baseball, football, and hockey. The sportsbooks were called Turf clubs, and they operated separately from the casino business. The turf clubs were a success until 1951 when a 10% tax on revenue was levied against them. The turf clubs were taxed on the money they took in before paying out money to the customers. Needless to say, these businesses quickly dissolved. However, in 1974 the tax was dropped to 2%, and these clubs were once again a viable business. In 1975, the first sportsbooks were allowed to operate directly in a Nevada casino, which started the trend of sports betting becoming an integral part of the Vegas casino scene.


Online Betting begins with the rise of the internet


With the rise of the internet in the 1990s, it was no surprise that sports betting would find its way to an online platform. In 1994 InterTops launched as one of the first online platforms for people to place bets on sports. See if you are looking for a beginner-friendly site to try your luck on.


New states are entering the industry

Since sports betting is such a lucrative industry, it is no surprise that other states are working on passing laws making it legal. In 2018, Nevadas 50 year monopoly on sportsbooks ended allowing other states to earn a piece of the pie. It is expected that by 2024, over 40 states will pass laws to allow some form of sports betting.


Sports betting has a long history in the US, and there is no doubt that as technology continues to grow, the sports betting industry will evolve and grow as well.