To understand what started betting on sports one has to first examine the historical past of sports gambling in America. The US had a long history of permitting certain types of legal gambling and even illegal betting to some extent. Political control and scandals regarding gaming interests have led to certain backlashes which have resulted in prohibition or regulation of sports gambling. Standards and laws relating to sports gambling have kept altering.
Nelson Rose describes these changes in law as three waves. The first wave was during the colonial era that lasted up until the mid 1800s, the 2nd wave started following the Civil War and lasted till the early Twentieth century and the 3rd wave commenced during the Great Depression and it’s still continuing.
Throughout the Colonial Era, different attitudes were enforced towards gambling. Puritan attitudes were adopted towards gambling and possessing dice, cards, gaming tables etc were banned. Later on it had been allowed as long as it wasn’t a calling or trade but for moderate and innocent recreation. Settlers brought with them views that said gambling was nothing but a harmless activity. The frontier spirit encouraged the appeal of gambling since it involved risk taking, high expectations and opportunism. professional sport betting picks
Ultimately all colonies used lotteries as a solution from economic problems as well as benefit the colonies. It was a civic responsibility and profits were used to create a number of the first prestigious universities, build churches and also libraries. Lotteries continued to be popular right to the early 19th Century. Horse racing was also popular and the Long Island built the first race track in 1665. Casino gaming began to emerge slowly as roadhouses and taverns started to allow card games and dice.
The Lower Mississippi Valley became a structured and legitimate gambling area in 1800s. The grand river with its riverboats was a major trade avenue for both wealthy merchants and farmers. New Orleans soon gained recognition as being the gambling capital. Through the 1830s southern settlers turned against professional gamblers who had been held responsible for committing crimes, debasing morals of society and endangering streets. During 1800s there was increasing attack of gambling especially lotteries and whenever operators absconded with all the proceeds lottery scandals eventually concluded in prohibition of gambling.
The Gold Rush in California triggered a tremendous increase in the kinds of gambling and San Francisco was crowned 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 forms of gambling illegal and a number of professional gamblers were lynched. This prohibition drove wagering 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 all the many scandals within the lottery gambling segments, 35 states in America 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 was a preferred tourist destination. Despite its illegality sports gambling became very popular and today is a billion dollar industry.