Most people believe that sports betting is a relatively new activity, but nothing could be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is that people have been placing wagers on sporting events since the past two millennia. It is fair to say that gambling, especially on sports, is very much a part of human nature. In fact, the sports gambling industry is truly immense at present, and people from all over the world take part in it thanks to the use of the internet.
Sports Wagering Probably Originated in Ancient Europe
Sports wagering most probably originated as simple bets made between friends and acquaintances as they watched local sports events. There is evidence to show that the Ancient Greeks used to not only enjoy watching sporting events such as the Olympics, but they also used to place bets on various outcomes. Sports wagering during that period was not organised or structured, but it nevertheless provided people with a great deal of entertainment.
The sports wagering industry in the ancient world underwent a sea change when the Romans became the premier power in Europe. The Ancient Romans were passionate about gladiatorial fights to the death and they also loved to place wagers on a number of possible outcomes. As a result, the wagers that were placed tended to be very complex and fans of gladiator fights would bet on certain specific outcomes during the fight.
The expansion of the Roman Empire to what is current day Britain resulted in gambling becoming very popular in these areas as well. The Romans had to eventually leave Britain, but not before they ensured that gambling became an established pastime here. In fact, Europeans have a very healthy attitude towards gambling and this extends to sports gambling too. This is perhaps on account of their long association with this activity, which had become extremely popular in the 19th century. In fact, it peaked with the sport of Pedestrianism, which was nothing, but a competitive walking event and one that evolved to become race walking. However, the rapidly increasing popularity of sports betting led to many instances of cheating.
Sports Betting in the United States
The American sports fans took to sports betting in a big way and baseball was the most popular game among punters. However, here too, the very success of the activity was its downfall since it led to a number of scandalous events involving baseball players and coaches who threw matches just so that they could make money on the side. The Americans also enjoyed betting on American football and horse racing.
Sports Wagering Transformed by the Internet
The internet has made it very easy for people to place bets on their favourite sports or athletes. People can place bets on a wide range of sporting activities and they can also bet at any time of the day thanks to the convenience of using websites. They can also gather as much information as they need to make good bets. It is clear that internet betting is here to stay.