The history of sports gambling 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 specifically had betting in their veins as their ancestors gambled for generations. As a result “sports betting” was obviously a normal part and parcel of the early American culture.
Today it is obvious that sports betting activities are the craze all over the world. With all the ease of online sports betting, it’s made the activity much more convenient and cheaper. Though in the past the sports betting segment was small, today it has 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 very quickly gamblers 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 enhanced the betting handle. Bookies would reduce the odds on other horses to increase their attractiveness when there seemed to be a lot of money for a particular horse. By 1920s horse racing had reached the summit with more than 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 was “fixed” rocked the US and the public received a negative view of sports bettors. Although gambling was illegal most people regarded sports gambling as a harmless victimless crime. College football 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 becoming a part of life and many youngsters were coming in contact with the sports betting industry in a very early 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 nearly three decades.
Established in 1930 the corporation set lines in sports events and distributed those to bookmakers within the nation through the telegraph or telephone He also printed sports information which 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 ultimately legalized in Nevada in 1931 and the states finances which was in dire straits during those times, 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 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 sometimes called “sawdust” rooms. In 1980s Roxborough became a major element of sports gambling and brought in the technology that revolutionized sports gambling.