The history of sports betting in the US extends back to the times when the founders took risks. Back then gamblers bet on cockfights, makeshift horse races and bare fist fights. Colonists and Pioneers that arrived in the US from Europe and England in particular had betting within their veins as their ancestors gambled for generations. As a result “sports betting” was a normal part and parcel of the early American culture.
Today there’s no question that sports betting activities are the rage around the globe. With all the ease of on-line sports betting, it has made the sport much more convenient and cheaper. Though previously the sports betting segment was small, today it’s permeated almost every element of society.
Horse racing was popular from the 19th and early 20th Centuries and was enjoyed mostly by the upper class. But horse tracks began to appear following the Civil War and soon gamblers coming from all sectors of society flocked to these racing establishments. Bookies had a hold on the gambling population and in addition they were setting odds on horses that increased the betting handle. Bookies would lower the odds on other horses to increase their attractiveness when there was big money for a particular horse. By 1920s horse racing had reached the peak with more than 300 racetracks throughout the US.
Professional baseball gained popularity in the late 1800s and “pool cards” came into use. The “Black Sox Scanal” which was “fixed” rocked the US and the public acquired an adverse 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 gained popularity with bettors as baseball and boxing. Pool cards were extremely popular even though the odds of these cards were in the bookies favor.
In most US cities, sports gambling activities were transforming into a section of life and many youngsters were being exposed to the sports betting industry in a very young age. Some professionals have said, “Sports gambling was getting more popular than hot dogs!” 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 those to bookmakers in the nation through the telegraph or telephone He also printed sports information which helped bookies produce better lines and gamblers make better decisions. The publication that had been most popular was The Green Sheet. He was legitimate even though his clients were illegal bookies.
Sports gambling was ultimately legalized in Nevada in the year 1931 and also the states financial situation which had been in dire straits during those times, transformed significantly. Legalized boxing and sports gambling activities made it a hot spot for tourists and this 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 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.