Exactly what started gambling on sports activities
To understand what started gambling on sports one has to first examine the history of sports gambling in the US. The US had a long history of allowing some kinds of legal gambling and also illegal gambling to a certain degree. Political control and scandals regarding gaming interests have ended in certain backlashes that have resulted in prohibition or regulating sports gambling. Standards and laws pertaining to sports gambling have kept changing.
Nelson Rose explains these changes in law as 3 waves. The first wave was in the colonial era that lasted till the mid 1800s, the second wave started following the Civil War and lasted up until the early Twentieth century and the 3rd wave commenced during the Great Depression and it’s still continuing.
Throughout the Colonial Era, diverse attitudes were enforced towards gambling. Puritan attitudes were adopted towards gambling and possession of dice, cards, gaming tables etc were banned. Afterwards it was allowed as long as it wasn’t a calling or trade but for moderate and innocent recreation. Settlers brought along 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.
Ultimately all colonies used lotteries as being a solution out of economic problems and to help the colonies. It was a civic responsibility and proceeds were used to establish some of the first prestigious universities, build churches and even libraries. Lotteries remained popular right to the initial 19th Century. Horse racing had also been preferred and the Long Island built the very first race track in 1665. Casino gaming started to emerge slowly as roadhouses and taverns started to allow card games and dice.
The Lower Mississippi Valley became an organized and legitimate gambling area in 1800s. The grand river with its riverboats became a major trade avenue for both wealthy merchants and farmers. New Orleans quickly gained recognition as the gambling capital. Through the 1830s southern settlers turned against professional gamblers who were held responsible for carrying out crimes, debasing morals of society and endangering streets. During 1800s there was increasing attack of gambling especially lotteries and whenever operators absconded with all the proceeds lottery scandals finally concluded in prohibition of gambling.
The Gold Rush in California set off a huge surge in the kinds of gambling and San Francisco became the new gambling capital in the USA. During 1849 and 1855 gambling spread widely and also by 1850 California and lots of 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 US. With the many scandals in the lottery gambling segments, 35 states in America 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 was a popular tourist destination. Regardless of its illegality sports gambling became quite popular and today is a high dollar industry.