The gambling industry has slowly risen above all odds to become one of the most respected sporting activities in the world.
Some countries and states still consider betting illegal, and others operate it under very strict rules. However, bettors can still see hope for future growth and respect for the industry.
Sports betting has been around ever since sports first existed. It is no longer a practice behind closed doors and is not seen as a thing for individuals that place their bets to earn easy money.
Placing your wagers on a certain outcome is now considered an investment and not just mere luck. The practice has grown to become more than just a past time.
The journey of the betting industry has not been an easy one. Growing above all these odds to become one of the most respected and recognisable industries has taken a lot of hard work.
Despite all the negativity, the betting industry has made its way into the mainstream, and several countries now see it as a lucrative source of revenue via taxes.
The early bookmakers
It is not easy to trace the first bet, but the debut of the betting industry is associated with the Greek’s love for sports. Betting first started with the Olympic athletics competitions over 2000 years ago.
It moved from the Greeks to ancient Rome where it was recognised as part of sport and even became legalised. The industry later received a blow from religious leaders who pushed it underground deeming it immoral.
This, however, did not stop its growth as other sporting events continued to flourish underground and were officially introduced to the rest of the world.
Sports betting later spread to England before getting recognised in the US as many people’s favourite past time.
Betting grew in the form of horse racing. Horse race betting was organised by bookmakers but was reserved for the aristocracy, and the landed gentry.
Bookmakers organised private races known as matches, and only horse owners were allowed to participate. The popularity of these races continued to grow hence attracting more people who were willing to stake larger amounts on these matches.
The innkeepers and pub owners began to promote races and encouraged horse owners to organise the matches.
During this time, the gambling industry was not yet regulated and betting on horse races took the form of a credit system. Because the pub owners organised most betting, alcohol was available in large quantities where betting took place meaning gambling involved a lot of drama.
This made the British government ban betting in pubs hence the rise of betting shops ran by bookmakers. The government then adopted the Gambling Act 1845, which saw some rules introduced to gambling.
Betting and other sports
Betting on horse racing became very popular in England and the rest of the world. Europe became the biggest sports betting market. However, as time went on, other sporting events entered the gambling world.
Soccer and American football betting entered the sporting industry and became more popular than horse racing itself. Thanks to these changes, sports betting has now become more than just a past time but a multi-billion dollar industry.
There are several sportsbook and casinos worldwide which generate income not only for the industry but also for individual bettors and countries as I mentioned earlier.
Las Vegas was the first country to legalise betting in the US. The only downside is that you had to walk to their land-based casinos to place your bets.
If you lived far away from Las Vegas, then you were out of luck. However, you could still place your bet in several local and offshore bookies which operated illegally.
Sports betting moves online
The internet is the best thing that happened to the sports betting industry. The internet has contributed to the huge growth of the betting industry, and now a single bookmaker can have a global reach.
People can now place bets anytime from whatever location they are in, on any device. Bettors can also now watch their favourite matches in the comfort of their own homes.
Betstars was the first bookmaker to launch online betting back in 2000. It revolutionised the betting industry taking it to another level. It offered a unique way of gambling which involved peer-to-peer betting.
In 2002, Betstars launched live betting where bettors could watch their favourite sports and find the best betting opportunities as events unfolded. This increased their chances of winning and betting became even more exciting.
Online betting has paved the way for various betting events, including politics, entertainment, and live shows, among others. The number of betting markets has also grown. Here are just some of the many markets punters can bet on.
- Correct score
- Total goals
- First team to score
And many many more…
The legal state of the betting industry
Even though sports betting is continuing to grow and getting recognised worldwide, there are still many countries where betting is an illegal activity.
Placing bets in such countries requires a lot of caution. You have to be smart about where and how you place your bets.
Because of the growing popularity of online sports betting, many people have seen it as a lucrative business, and the industry is continuously becoming saturated.
This has led to various legal issues. The legality of online gambling is continuously changing, and every country comes up with its own set of regulations. That is particularly the case in the United States.
Simply placing wagers online is legal, but it needs to be outside the US. So, if you’re a US citizen who loves betting, you won’t get in trouble if you place your bets on sites based outside US soil.
The future of sports betting
The sports betting industry is continuing to grow, and very soon, it will become accepted in more countries. Technology and the internet continue to fuel its growth and bettors can expect even more trends in betting to come up.
Daily fantasy sports (DFS) is considered a key area in the future of sports betting and is legal in a lot of countries worldwide.
It won’t be long before other states see the revenue generated by sports betting and decide to legalise it.