Betting on Horse Racing
Horse racing was the most popular sport during the 19th century. Originally, sports betting was dominated by the more well to do. Hundreds of racetracks were built after the Civil War, allowing average citizens an opportunity to partake in the thrill of betting. Popularity for horse racing began to decline in the early 20th Century, due to the rise of baseball as the national pastime.
The Black Sox Scandal
The sports betting industry was dealt a serious blow in 1919 after eight members of the Chicago White Sox were found to have been paid off by gamblers, led by Arnold Rothstein, to throw the World Series. It became known as the Black Sox Scandal. The players were banned from baseball for life to deter potential future offenders. The integrity of the sports betting industry requires a certain confidence that the games are not fixed.
Gambling Is Legalized in Las Vegas
Gambling in Las Vegas was legalized in 1931. Sports betting in Vegas became legal in 1951 after Congress passed legislation that imposed a 10 percent tax. The high tax made it difficult for sports books to turn lucrative profits. Eventually, Congress would lower the tax to two percent, leading to a rapid rise in sportsbooks at Las Vegas casinos. As more sporting events became televised, the demand for sports betting grew. For over 30 years, sports betting in Vegas raked in massive profits.
Rise of Online Sportsbooks
The rapid rise of online sportsbooks has provided fierce competition to the Vegas sportsbooks, in much the same was the many online casinos have done for their Vegas bricks and mortar counterparts. Potential bettors can now place bets from their computer and almost always are offered promotions by online sports betting sites that want to keep their business. You can gamble on anything these days, from the amount of points scored in a game to who will score the first touchdown. The more choices for gamblers, the more bets they will make. There is no doubt that the sports betting industry will continue to grow in size and complexity in the years to come.