The historical past of sports betting in the US 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 landed in the US from Europe and England in particular had betting within their veins because their ancestors gambled for generations. As a result “sports betting” was a normal part and parcel with the early American culture.
Today there’s no question that sports betting activities are the rage all over the world. With all the simplicity of on-line sports betting, it has made the activity all the more convenient and cheaper. Though previously the sports betting segment was small, today it has permeated virtually every element of society.
Horse racing was popular in the 19th and early 20th Centuries and was appreciated mostly by the upper class. But horse tracks began to appear after the Civil War and soon gamblers from all sectors of society flocked to these racing establishments. Bookies had a hold on the gambling population and they were setting odds on horses that enhanced the betting handle. Bookies would lower 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 over 300 racetracks all over the US.
Professional baseball gained popularity in the late 1800s and “pool cards” came into use. The “Black Sox Scanal” which had been “fixed” rocked the US and the public received a negative view of sports bettors. Although gambling was illegal most people regarded sports gambling to be 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 even though the odds of these cards were in the bookies favor.
In most US cities, sports gambling activities were becoming a part of life and most youngsters were coming in contact with the sports betting industry in 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 nearly 30 years.
Established in 1930 the corporation set lines in sports events and dispersed them to bookmakers within the nation through the telegraph or telephone He also printed 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 despite the fact that his clients were illegal bookies.
Sports gambling was finally legalized in Nevada in 1931 and the states financial situation which had been in dire straits at that time, changed significantly. Legalized boxing and sports gambling activities caused it to be a hot spot for tourists and this also altered its economic condition for the better.
A resolution was passed in 1951 by the Congress that imposed a 10% tax on every sports bet. New regulations permitted the bookies to come out of the dark and work openly. Turf clubs were the initial legal sports books in Nevada and they were occasionally called “sawdust” rooms. In 1980s Roxborough became a major part of sports gambling and ushered in the technology that completely changed sports gambling.