To learn what started betting on sports one has to first examine the history of sports gambling in the US. The USA had a long history of permitting certain types of legal gambling and even illegal betting to some extent. Political control and scandals concerning gaming interests have ended in selected backlashes that have resulted in prohibition or regulation of sports gambling. Standards and laws relating to sports gambling have kept changing.
Nelson Rose explains these changes in law as 3 waves. The 1st wave was during the colonial era that lasted till the mid 1800s, the 2nd wave started at the end of the Civil War and lasted up until the early Twentieth century and the third wave commenced during the Great Depression and it’s still continuing.
Throughout the Colonial Era, diverse attitudes were enforced towards betting. Puritan attitudes were adopted towards gambling and possessing dice, cards, gaming tables etc were outlawed. Later on it had been allowed as long as it was not a calling or trade but for moderate and innocent recreation. Settlers brought along with them views that said gambling was nothing but a harmless past time. The frontier spirit encouraged the appeal of gambling since it involved risk taking, high expectations and opportunism. nfl sport betting tips
Ultimately all colonies used lotteries as being a solution from economic problems and to benefit the colonies. It was a civic responsibility and proceeds were utilized to create a number of the first prestigious universities, build churches and also libraries. Lotteries continued to be popular right to the initial 19th Century. Horse racing had also been popular and the Long Island built the very first race track in 1665. Casino gaming started to emerge slowly as roadhouses and taverns started to permit card games and dice.
The Lower Mississippi Valley became a structured and legitimate gambling area in 1800s. The grand river featuring its riverboats became a major trade avenue for wealthy merchants and farmers. New Orleans quickly gained recognition as being the gambling capital. Through the 1830s southern settlers turned against professional gamblers who were blamed for committing crimes, debasing morals of society and endangering streets. During 1800s there seemed to be increasing attack of gambling especially lotteries and when operators absconded with all the proceeds lottery scandals eventually led to prohibition of gambling.
The Gold Rush in California set off a tremendous surge in the kinds of gambling and San Francisco became the new gambling capital in the USA. During 1849 and 1855 gambling spread widely and also by 1850 California and lots of cities had licensed gambling centers. But soon the Legislature made most types of gambling illegal and certain professional gamblers were lynched. This prohibition drove gambling activities underground and did not eliminate it. Gambling was legal during 1869-1910 in Nevada.
It is possible to now understand what started gambling on sports in the US. With the numerous scandals in the lottery gambling segments, 35 states in the US including California prohibited lotteries. In 1933 pari-mutuel betting was legalized and new automated systems and laws made horse racing betting more honest. In 1978 casino gambling was legalized by New Jersey and Atlantic City became a popular tourist destination. Regardless of its illegality sports gambling became quite popular and today is a billion dollar industry.