It might come as a surprise for some to know that sports betting has been in existence since time immemorial. Some experts believe that is has been in the society since the past 2,000 years or so. And it has rightly been proven. Well, obviously, there weren’t any fancy looking casinos where people could go and gamble and not even the Internet, but small instances proved that gambling and betting always existed.
Take for example, a casual wager or a bet between friends. These small instances garnered momentum that ultimately gave rise to the phenomenon of industries organising or creating games where people can place bets and win money. If you ponder and think about it, sports betting has its existence in every country and has been a sport for people since the first Olympic Games.
Let’s take a look at sports betting-then and now!
Many experts claim that it was the Greeks who started sports betting during 2000BC. Earlier, it is assumed that people used to place sporting bets on small games organised in the neighbourhood. Sometimes, they also placed a wager on the Olympic Games. It is believed that the industry was successful and thriving even then. People used to place bets on their favourite team or sport. It was usually a pastime and not taken as a professional endeavour.
It was when the Roman Empire gained stronghold that the business of sports betting gained popularity. The progress was slow, it happened in a systematic fashion over the years.
Gladiator fighting was one of the most popular sporting events at that time. Well, it is known that sometimes the end result used to be the death of one of the participants. It was enjoyed mostly by the elite class. Bets were placed on the favourite player. Later, betting took a complex route and people also started wagering on the duration of the game, which gladiator will fall first and the like.
The sport gained popularity throughout Europe and more and more people started gambling. It spread its branches in neighbouring regions like Britain and Ireland.
By the 19th century, betting on sports gained massive popularity and became a recognised pastime. People also started taking it very seriously and for some, it became a mode of earning money. Apart from gladiator fighting, another game called Pedestrianism also gained immense popularity. During this period, sports betting in the United States also started emerging.
Baseball emerged as a popular sport there and during the 20th century many people started watching it. It was also often marred with scandals and fixes. It was also very common for managers of different teams to bet on the outcome of the game.
But it was after the Second World War that actual betting on sports was started as we see today. The structure of bookies and an organisation that organises such services were set up. Slowly, with the advent of the Internet, online bookmakers gained prominence and the industry is thriving as you can see today.