The history of sports betting in the usa extends back to the times when the founders took risks. In the past bettors bet on cockfights, makeshift horse races and bare fist fights. Colonists and Pioneers that arrived in the US from Europe and England specifically had betting within their veins as their ancestors gambled for generations. Therefore “sports betting” was a natural part and parcel of the early American culture.
Today it is obvious that sports betting activities are the rage all over the world. With all the ease of online sports betting, it has made the sport much more convenient and cheaper. Though in the past the sports betting section was small, today it has permeated almost every element of society.
Horse racing was popular in the 19th and early 20th Centuries and was enjoyed mainly by way of the upper class. But horse tracks started to appear after the Civil War and soon gamblers from all sectors of society flocked to those racing establishments. Bookies had a hold over the gambling population and they were setting odds on horses that increased the betting handle. Bookies would reduce the odds on other horses to increase their attractiveness when there seemed to be big money for a particular horse. By 1920s horse racing had reached the peak with more than 300 racetracks all over the US.
Professional baseball became popular in the late 1800s and “pool cards” came into use. The “Black Sox Scanal” which had been “fixed” rocked the US and the public acquired an adverse view of sports bettors. Although gambling was illegal most people considered sports gambling as a harmless victimless crime. College football games and basketball also became popular with bettors as baseball and boxing. Pool cards were as popular as ever although the odds of these cards were in the bookies favor.
In the majority of US cities, sports gambling activities were transforming into a part of life and most youngsters were coming in contact with the sports betting industry at a very early age. Some professionals have said, “Sports gambling was getting more popular than hotdogs!” Soon Leo Hirschfield started Athletic Publications that became the sports betting world standard for almost three decades.
Established in 1930 this company set lines in sports events and dispersed them to bookmakers within the nation via the telegraph or telephone He also published sports information that helped bookies produce better lines and gamblers make smarter decisions. The publication that had been most widely used was The Green Sheet. He was legitimate even though his customers were illegal bookies.
Sports gambling was finally legalized in Nevada in 1931 and also the states financial situation which was in dire straits at that time, changed drastically. Legalized boxing and sports gambling activities caused it to be a hot spot for tourists and this also changed its economic condition for the better.
A resolution was passed in 1951 by way of the Congress that charged a 10% tax on every sports bet. New regulations allowed the bookies to come out of the dark and work openly. Turf clubs were the first legal sports books in Nevada and they were occasionally called “sawdust” rooms. In 1980s Roxborough became a significant part of sports gambling and ushered in the technology that completely changed sports gambling.