History of Sports Betting
In reference to sports betting, horse racing saw that the very widespread popularity throughout the 19th Century and in the early 20th Century. In its first phases racing was a sport that was appreciated and wagered on by mostly the top course. But after the Civil War horse paths began to scatter the eastern landscape and bettors from all financial sectors flocked to the paths in droves.
Many enterprising bookmakers would start’auction pools’ in the first days of horse racing that involved auctioning off bets for every horse in a race. However, this arrangement was short lived because bettors were out of luck if the horse they wanted to wager on was taken. The bookies – always considered an advanced bunch when compared with professionals from any other sector — soon realized that setting odds on individual horses would raise betting handle and, then, the bookie’s hold. If there was overpowering cash on one horse, the bookmaker would only lower the odds to boost the attractiveness of different horses in the race. This arrangement is still in use today, although horse gambling has steadily diminished in popularity because the 1930s.
By the 1920s racing had reached its peak and there were more than 300 racetracks in the U.S. in addition to thousand of’pool halls,’ or off-track betting facilities, which were connected to the paths by telegraph wires. Here locals could place their bets on horses at a large number of racing venues across the country. Horse racing remained the most popular form of gambling until pro sports leagues started forming and catching the interest of the nation’s gamblers.
In the late 1800s, professional baseball started to gain popularity and, consequently, so did betting on the sport. Baseball’pool cards’ became a norm in urban areas from the East. These cards, similar to present-day parlay cards, provided bettors an array of baseball gambling choices they might wager on for amounts as little as 10 cents. However there was a catch with these pool cards: the odds were badly skewed in the homes’ favor. There was no method to get a bettor, however sharp they might have been, to earn a profit within an extended time period. No one appeared to care, however, because the cards continued to rise in popularity while the bookies’ pockets continued to get fatter.
A fixing ignominy from the 1919 World Series — dubbed the’Black Sox Scandal’ by the media — exposed the probability of professional baseball to be jeopardized by gamblers. Some players in the favored Chicago White Sox have been discovered to have fixed games in the petition of gamblers (Chicago lost the show to Cincinnati, 5-3). The scandal rocked the country and the general public has been given a negative impression of sport bettors, who had been made out to look like offenders who were attempting to ruin the sanctity of the match for their own monetary advancement. While gambling was illegal, most considered sports betting to be a victimless crime before the scandal broke.
Baseball, however, pushed ahead despite the black eye, and the bettors didn’t waver in their zeal to have action on the games. If baseball lost anything because of the moral consequences of the Black Sox Scandal and other instances involving fixed baseball games, it was not reflected in the nationally betting handle, which continued to grow progressively.
Even more people became interested in sports betting through the’Golden Era’ of sport in the 1920s. College football and college basketball were gaining enormous popularity with bettors, as had been boxingbaseball was as well liked as ever. Pool cards were the favourite option of many bettors because of their promise of wealth during the tough economic times of the Great Depression. Football pool cards proved to be popular as the baseball cards even though bettors confronted the challenge of choosing a winning mix of usually five or more games in hopes of a big payday. Just like the baseball cards, the odds for football cards were heavily in the bookie’s favor.
“This was a stickup — a complete robbery, however you didn’t know any better,” says former Mirage Race & Sports Book Director Jimmy Vaccaro of the pool cards, that were known as’spot sheets’ in his native Pittsburgh. “The odds for a 10-team [parlay] have been 100-1 and twists lost on every card. Now you can get 800-1 or 1000-1 [for a 10-team parlay]. You performed for the threat of it. You played to get a massive payoff if you’d get lucky.”
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