History of sports betting

history of sports betting

Basically, everyone has experienced several situations in which they were faced with a bet. Whether he wanted it or not. Either this person offered a bet himself. Or the prospect was given to him. Betting seems to be in people’s blood. It’s kind of deeply rooted in the genes. It is the ambition to insist on the right. And this usually happens like this: Two parties discuss a topic and take different positions. They do not move a single word from them. You are sure to be right. And because that is the case, a bet should decide. “Should we bet?” Or “I’ll bet my very best on it” then quickly fall as standard slogans. And it doesn’t always have to be a sports bet or money or other material things as stakes. Many simply agree on an exchange of blows “for honor”. What remains anyway: the bet between two parties for a specific bet, in which only one is right.

Sports betting in antiquity

These days, especially in sports betting, these two parties are clearly defined. On one side is the player who thinks he knows how an event will end. The counterparty is the bookmaker. You hold against it and offer a quota for it. The bet and its amount, in turn, are determined by the players themselves. Either the bookmakers take it in. Or the player is right – and wins his bet multiplied by the total odds. And because it is particularly convenient and convenient, sports betting has long since established itself online. Going to a betting shop or even submitting by phone or typing by post is becoming a thing of the past. The basic idea of ​​a bet, however, has been preserved to this day. But where do their roots lie?

In fact, sport plays a major role in this. This is simply because sporting competitions took place in ancient times. The Olympic Games are a good example of this. In 1896, the first modern summer games took place in the Greek capital Athens. But this sporting test of strength also existed in antiquity. Even then, these competitions were among the most important events in sport. Historians found that from about 880 BC to about 393 AD, every four years in summer such a major event took place in the sacred grove of Olympia. This four-year period is still called the Olympics. During this period, people usually bet all their belongings on the victory of an Olympian. The prospect of fame and fortune was just too tempting.

Historians assume that this type of sports betting first took place in 676 BC as part of the 23rd Olympiad. Other examples are also present for everyone. Either from the comics of the Gallic hero Asterix or from various monumental films such as “Ben Hur”, where the dramatic chariot race plays a decisive role. So the Romans bet on the brave to death or on the winners of the popular chariot races. Wealthy citizens often proverbially bet “house and yard”. The fascination of sports betting kept her under the spell thousands of years ago.

From horse racing to football betting

Another milestone in sports betting can be found on the island: horse racing was very popular in England in the 18th century. And it was at this time that variants of sports betting appeared for the first time. Because the English didn’t just bet on the winning horse, but at that time on certain outings. The idea behind it was quite simple: events of this kind had to be financed. This should be done through betting. The competition fever broke out – and it did not stop on mainland Europe. In Germany there was a sports bet for the first time in 1810, also – according to the British model – in the gallop race. At the end of the 19th century, football became more and more popular. It was only a logical consequence that England introduced football betting in 1921. When World War II ended and German football became increasingly popular, the Toto, also known colloquially as the 911 bet. From then on, people tapped the exits of eleven football games. Toto was organized by the state and also had an exemplary basic idea: This is how German sport should be supported by the income.

Betting shops, sports betting by post, online betting

Until the mid-19th century, betting was still illegal in England. And thus also the so-called bookmakers. That changed in 1853 (although official legalization of bookmakers in Britain only took place in 1961). And that cleared the way for the bookmakers. Ladbrokes, one of the oldest, most traditional and best known companies, was founded in 1886. In addition to sports betting on horse racing, dog racing quickly developed into a popular alternative until football pushed it more and more into a niche existence. Even before the Second World War, studies showed that the crazy Britons invested around five percent of their money in sports betting but also in gambling. That alone shows that the path of professional betting was unstoppable. Especially not when more and more bookmaker shops opened on the island. Another very well-known representative was William Hill, who opened its doors in 1934.

What ultimately worked on the island was soon to trigger a boom in many other countries in Europe. First of all, on a somewhat longer “official way”, on which bookmakers sent weekly coupons and odds to their customers by post. Intertops is a well-known German-language bookmaker. The bookie was founded in 1983, initially in England with a corresponding British license for bookmakers. In 1992 Salzburg became the new company headquarters in Austria. And Intertops is a very good example because this bookmaker also accepted the first online sports bet worldwide in 1996 – thus ushering in a new era. The age of the Internet had dawned. And with the beginning of the new millennium, the bookies increased, who now also invited players interested in the world of betting online with a website and corresponding offers for sports betting. The rapid technical development created a practically completely new market with almost inexhaustible potential. This also shows the current development in which live betting is playing an increasingly important role in sports betting.

Conclusion: summarizes the sports betting history

  • Betting was done in ancient times
  • The focus was always on sporting strength
  • Sports betting was established with horse racing and later football
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