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Sports + Gaming

How did we start betting on sports?

aerial photography of baseball stadium

Betting on sports has become a major culture amongst individuals across the world. It is believed that sports betting has been functional since the first sports were played many years ago. As you can learn from this Business Wire article, research showed that the global sports betting industry was worth $89.65 billion, and it’s expected to surpass that figure at a 10.64% CAGR between 2022 and 2030.

Countries like the U.S., United Kingdom, Nigeria, India, Italy, etc., have the greatest population of sports bettors around the world. Sports fans use sports betting as a recreational activity as they predict and stake the outcome of games. In this article, you’ll understand how we began to bet on sports. Let’s dive in.

How did sports betting come about?

Historians believe the first recorded sports betting can be traced to the days when the ancient Greeks started the Olympic Games. Later, the Romans adopted sports wagering in their gladiator games and became the first to make sports betting legal. As a result, sports betting began to travel worldwide, becoming part of carnival and intercultural events.

After a while, sports betting began to make its way to England, especially during horse racing events. Elites of those days derived pleasure from staking on the horses and their riders. With the rising popularity of horse racing and intercultural relations, sports betting found its way to the United States and became a popular activity amongst sports lovers.

Modern Sports Betting in the U.S

Since the arrival of sports betting in the United States, there have been a couple of changes. In the past, sports wagering was popular in horse racing and was just for the elite class of citizens. Sports betting remained an entertainment activity for the rich until the advent and popularity of baseball in 1876, the history of which Britannica has detailed here

Due to the wide popularity and acceptance of baseball in the U.S., traditional sports betting began to gain ground. In 1937, the state of Nevada gave legal permission for sports betting, but the problem was that bettors had to travel to Las Vegas casinos before placing a bet. If you were far away from a casino and needed to place a bet on any game, you’d have to find a bookie in your area.

Today, sports betting has become even more exciting and less stressful. Mobile devices, the internet, and the wide acceptance of sports betting have made room for the creation of online sportsbooks. Sportsbooks can now be used from the comfort of your home, whether in Arizona, Colorado, or Ohio.  With the Casino Control Commission approving Ohio’s online sports betting sites and apps, which will go live on 1 January 2023, Ohio has joined the list of states in the United States to legalize sports betting. Interestingly, when it comes to bookmakers, some of the best ones that work in Ohio even come with promo codes worth over $700.


Change is the only constant thing, and sports betting has had its fair share. From the days of horse racing to the arrival of baseball and the popularity of casinos down to the introduction of online sportsbooks, betting on sports has continued to evolve. It all begins to make sense to you when you understand how everything came to be.

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