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 also illegal gambling to some extent. Political control and scandals concerning gaming interests have ended in certain backlashes that have lead to prohibition or regulating sports gambling. Standards and laws pertaining to sports gambling have kept altering.
Nelson Rose explains these changes in law as 3 waves. The 1st wave was during the colonial era that lasted up until the mid 1800s, the 2nd wave started at the end of the Civil War and lasted up until the early Twentieth century and also the third wave commenced during the Great Depression and it’s still continuing.
Throughout the Colonial Era, diverse attitudes were enforced towards gambling. Puritan attitudes were adopted towards gambling and possessing dice, cards, gaming tables etc were banned. Later on it was allowed so long as it was not a calling or trade except for moderate and innocent recreation. Settlers brought along 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. arbitrage betting reddit
Ultimately all colonies used lotteries as a solution from economic problems as well as benefit the colonies. It became a civic responsibility and proceeds were used to create a number of the first prestigious universities, build churches and even libraries. Lotteries continued to be popular right to the initial 19th Century. Horse racing had also been preferred and the Long Island built the first race track in 1665. Casino gaming started 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 mighty river with its riverboats was a major trade avenue for wealthy merchants and farmers. New Orleans soon gained recognition as the gambling capital. During the 1830s southern settlers turned against professional gamblers who had been blamed 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 the proceeds lottery scandals eventually led to prohibition of gambling.
The Gold Rush in California set off a huge increase in the kinds of gambling and San Francisco became the new gambling capital in the US. During 1849 and 1855 gambling spread widely and by 1850 California and many cities had licensed gambling centers. But soon the Legislature made most forms of gambling illegal and certain 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 the many 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 straightforward. In 1978 casino gambling was legalized by New Jersey and Atlantic City was a preferred tourist destination. Despite its illegality sports gambling became quite popular and today is a billion dollar industry.