The History of Sports Betting

Betting on sports has a long and storied history that spans many generations. The sports betting industry gained popularity in the United States of America during the 19th century. Through the advancements of television and the Internet, betting on sports has become a staple of modern culture. The sports betting industry is a multi-billion dollar business that has shown no signs of slowing down. Here is a brief account of the history of sports betting over the years.

Early Years of Sports Betting

The sport that drew the most attention of gamblers in the 19th century was horse racing. At first, betting on sports was a practice for primarily members of the upper class. Shortly after the Civil War, however, there was a vast growth in the number of race tracks throughout the country. As a result, even low income individuals began wagering on sports. Horse racing reached its peak in the 1920’s. By that point, sports like baseball and football grew in popularity among gamblers.

Black Sox Scandal

In 1919, eight players on the Chicago White Sox were paid to throw the . The players, including Shoeless Joe Jackson, were banned from baseball for life. The gamblers, led by gangster Arnold Rothstein, shed light on the enormous influence betting played in sports and gave the practice a bad name in the public domain.

Gambling Becomes Legal In Vegas

After gambling was legalized in in 1931, it was only a matter of time until betting on sports became a common practice. Congress passed legislation that imposed a 10 percent tax on sports betting, making it difficult for sports books to profit. After the tax was significantly reduced, the sports betting industry in Las Vegas exploded. Sports books popped up in virtually every major casino. For many years, Las Vegas sports books had a near monopoly on the sports betting industry.

Online Sports Books Impact on Betting

In recent years, the sports betting industry has grown immensely due to the Internet. There are hundreds, even thousands of online sports books clamoring for your business, along with the many online casinos offering and other casino games. These sports books often offer promotions and bonuses to new customers. Potential bettors can place wagers quickly and safely from their home. Bets can be placed on practically anything, from the total points scored in a quarter to the result of the coin toss. Online sports books provide sports fans and gamblers the opportunity to pad their wallet.


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