Sports betting has a long history dating back to the 19th century. At this time, horse racing was the most common sport, and people placed bets on the fastest horses. Sports betting started to become quite popular ever since and the horse racing game was instrumental in developing sports gambling in the USA.
How Gambling Was Perceived A Century Ago
Today, things have changed, and sports betting involves pari-mutuel pools. Before horse racing became popular, people had already started gambling in the baseball league. Then, in 1876, the National League was founded, and in the years to come, it began to be manipulated to favor a particular party.
At a time, it was discovered that the Louisville Grays were fixing games to favor some results. However, it wasn’t anything serious during this time since gambling was only seen as entertainment. And at that time, people had a general laxer attitude towards gambling.
As time passed, more and more games started to be influenced by betting. For example, a baseball pool card game with similarities with what is known as parlay games also began and was becoming very popular because bets were being placed on the game.
One most popular event was the Chicago Colts vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates, where Uncle Anson, the then-manager of Chicago Colts, placed a $100 bet that the Chicago Colts would finish higher up the table than the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League that was scheduled to hold in a year.
The Bet was also featured in popular national newspapers at the time. This shows how betting was becoming accepted gradually. More also, it added more entertainment to already existing sports.
It continued into the Horse racing sports, where it became more popular as famous people placed bets on different racers. Even coaches could put a bet on their team. But, for an era, betting was only a pure form of entertainment; not until 25 years after the National League started that the first gambling scandal happened.
How The Negative Perception About Betting Started
Just after the turn of the new century, when sports betting was more popular than ever, the very first national scandal that sullied the art, brought professional participation to a halt, changed the narrative of gambling, and cast a dark shadow over sports gambling.
What was once seen as great entertainment became evil, fraudulent, and mischievous. It was banned and halted, including severe punishment for participants. Till today, this darkness and wrong perception about gambling is still felt.
Government Intervention In Gambling Activities
The government intervened by placing the appropriate regulatory bodies to checkmate gambling activities. But still, gambling continued to be commonplace, and in 1931, Nevada State strangely legalized gambling with strict laws.
In 1961, the wire act was set up to protect state-owned lotteries from participating in illegal gambling. Other states were silent on this matter, but sports gambling continued to take place underground, especially in Las Vegas.
Though sports betting was still prevalent, it was an underground thing. And till date, many nations around the World have passed judgment condemning any gambling activity as illegal with strict consequences.