The history of sports betting in the US dates back to the times when the founders took risks. In the past gamblers bet on cockfights, makeshift horse races and bare fist fights. Colonists and Pioneers that landed in the US from Europe and England specifically had betting within their veins as 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 around the globe. With the ease of online sports betting, it’s made the sport all the more convenient and cheaper. Though previously the sports betting segment 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 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 those racing establishments. Bookies had a hold over the gambling population and in addition 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 was big money on a particular horse. By 1920s horse racing had reached a peak with over 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. Though gambling was illegal a lot of people considered 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 although the odds of these cards were in the bookies favor.
In most US cities, sports gambling activities were becoming a section of life and many youngsters were being exposed to the sports betting industry in a very young age. Some experts 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 30 years.
Established in 1930 this company set lines in sports events and dispersed them to bookmakers in the nation through the telegraph or telephone He also published sports information that helped bookies produce better lines and gamblers make better decisions. The publication that was most popular was The Green Sheet. He was legitimate even though his clients were illegal bookies.
Sports gambling was ultimately legalized in Nevada in 1931 and also the states finances which was 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 altered 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 initial legal sports books in Nevada and they were occasionally called “sawdust” rooms. In 1980s Roxborough became a significant element of sports gambling and brought in the technology that revolutionized sports gambling.