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How Sports Betting Got Started

by Emerson Zercho (2019-11-03)


It would be surprising to many to find that sports betting has existed in society for over 2000 years, but as unbelievable as it sounds, that's exactly the case. From origins with simple wagers made between friends, to complex industries surrounding today's most high profile sports, sports betting has a foothold in almost every country on earth. Looking through history, you will find sports betting at the very first Olympic Games, all the way to competitions like the NFL or MLB today.

From Ancient Civilizations to the turn of the 20th Century

Early evidence shows that sports betting was a thriving industry in ancient times, even in the Greek States of 2000BC. In the early years people would place simple bets on competitions like the Olympic Games and other athletic events, wagering against friends for their favorite athletes. The activity lacked any particular organization at the time, but this would all change when the Roman Empire rose to power hundreds of years later.

One of the most popular competitions throughout the history of the Roman Empire was gladiator fighting. These competitions would sometimes be to the death, and the battles were bet on by the elite and common people alike. Wagers became more complex, with bets being placed on anything as simple as the victor of a battle, to even more specific outcomes like the duration of a battle, or the way in which a gladiator would fall.

The Roman Empire spread throughout Europe, and through trade even had influence far beyond its borders. Because of this, betting became commonplace in Europe and even in what is now Britain and Ireland. Even when the empire fell, people kept on betting and by the 19th century betting was a massively popular activity.

Pedestrianism was one notable competition that reached its peak at the end of the 19th century, and this sport was a favorite for bettors all around Britain and Western Europe.

The Rise of Sports Betting in America

The competitive walking event of pedestrianism eventually became much of a joke as far as the actual sporting competition went, and people around Europe started moving to other sports after a period of blatantly rigged competitions. Coinciding with these changes in Europe, the rise of sports betting in the United States was beginning.

Baseball was the sport to bet on in the early 20th century, and it would remain so up until the 1920s until it was marred by a number of fixed games and some highly publicized scandals. In those times, it wasn't uncommon for teams and managers to bet on or against each other, which eventually meant that trust was lost as far as bettors were concerned.

After the Second World War the United States entered a new age of prosperity, and betting became commonplace in sports ranging from dog and horse racing, click here to American Football. Structures had become more complex, and bettors had more information than ever as bookies, wise guys, and legitimate betting organizations entered the mix.

Today the situation is even better than ever, and with TV coverage as well as the advent of the internet, bettors have more information to make informed bets than at any other time in history.

If you're smart with your money and your picks, you can find a lot of success in sports betting today. This unique activity that has more in common with investment than it does other forms of gambling is stronger and more exciting than it has ever been. Even with a 2000 year history it doesn't seem unlikely that sports betting will be around for the next 2000 years, or even more.

Larry Bray has been involved in the sports betting world for over two decades. During that time, he has cultivated relationships with countless heavy sports gamblers who bet thousands of dollar per game, commonly known in the business as wise guy's. While they do things differently than bookies or the average sports bettor, their winning percentages are higher than most. Larry now uses their insights and strategies to show the average sports fanatic how to get in the game with sports betting knowledge. You can read his blog at .