To learn what started gambling on sports one has to first examine the historical past of sports gambling in the US. The USA had a long history of allowing some kinds of legal gambling and even illegal gambling to a certain degree. Political control and scandals concerning gaming interests have ended in certain backlashes which have resulted in prohibition or regulation of sports gambling. Standards and laws pertaining to sports gambling have kept changing.
Nelson Rose describes these changes in law as 3 waves. The first wave was in the colonial era that lasted till the mid 1800s, the 2nd wave started following the Civil War and lasted till the early Twentieth century and also the third wave commenced during the Great Depression and is still continuing.
Throughout the Colonial Era, different attitudes were enforced towards betting. Puritan attitudes were adopted towards gambling and possession of dice, cards, gaming tables etc were banned. Later on it had been allowed so long as it wasn’t a calling or trade but for moderate and innocent recreation. Settlers brought with them views that said gambling was nothing but a harmless activity. The frontier spirit encouraged the appeal of gambling as it involved high risk, high expectations and opportunism. best sport betting books
Eventually all colonies used lotteries as a solution from financial problems and to help the colonies. It was a civic responsibility and proceeds were used to establish a number of the first prestigious universities, build churches and also libraries. Lotteries remained popular right to the initial 19th Century. Horse racing had also been popular and the Long Island built the first race track in 1665. Casino gaming began to emerge slowly as roadhouses and taverns started to permit card games and dice.
The Lower Mississippi Valley became an organized 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 being the gambling capital. Through the 1830s southern settlers turned against professional gamblers who were blamed for carrying out crimes, debasing morals of society and endangering streets. During 1800s there was increasing attack of gambling especially lotteries and when operators absconded with all the proceeds lottery scandals eventually concluded in prohibition of gambling.
The Gold Rush in California triggered a huge surge in the kinds of gambling and San Francisco was crowned 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 types 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 easy to now understand what started gambling on sports in the USA. With all the numerous scandals within 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 honest. In 1978 casino gambling was legalized by New Jersey and Atlantic City became a preferred tourist destination. Despite its illegality sports gambling became very popular and already is a high dollar industry.