Sports betting is nowadays an omnipresent part of the sports and gaming landscape. Let’s see in this article what is the history of sports betting and its origins. Where do they come from and how long have they been around?
I – The history of sports betting
It is difficult to date the exact time of the appearance of sports betting in the world. Some archaeologists, however, suggest that the history of sports betting dates back to prehistoric times, when it is believed that men used to fight each other for rewards. Evidence of their existence can only be found in Ancient Greece.
The origins of sports betting in Ancient Greece
We know today that the Greeks were lovers of sports and liked to organize big competitions like the Olympic Games. These competitions, which date back more than 2000 years, were opportunities for the people to bet on the victory of their favorite athletes.
The history of sports betting among the Romans
Taking advantage of the Greek heritage, the Romans adopted certain practices, notably sports competitions. However, they gave a whole new face to these competitions, with a particularly important place for sports betting. Thus, the Romans implemented competitions such as chariot races, animal fights but also fights between condemned men and felines.
The most famous of these competitions is of course the fights of Gladiators. The Romans transformed the sport into a real business with a market of athletes and fighting animals as well as a predominant place for sports betting.
Sports betting in France from the Middle Ages
Sports betting in France would have really developed from the Middle Ages onwards with new disciplines such as archery, sword or horse spear jousting. In the 17th century, the fighters on which the bettors were betting had the opportunity to fight battles and duels to the death.
In the 19th century: the rise of sports betting
The real boom in sports betting began in the 19th century with the arrival of horse racing in France and England. It is at this time that sports betting takes a very important monetary aspect. The high society met to bet, but also the more underprivileged, who saw sports betting as a possible way to make a fortune.
II – The history of sports betting in the modern era
Internet definitely revolutionizes sports betting
Today, sports betting has taken on a huge importance and a colossal business has developed around it. It is of course the arrival of the Internet in the 1990s that revolutionized the field of sports betting. Indeed, with the Internet came the online bookmakers which gave the possibility to any person with a computer and an Internet connection to bet from home and in an instant on the majority of sports competitions in the world.
In addition, people can now watch sports competitions at home and have access to many analysis and statistics sites to try to win at betting. Of course there is also a strong marketing aspect where sports betting is promoted on TV, on the internet, on billboards, on players’ shirts etc. The marketing maintains the hope and promise of easy money, and this is what attracts many people to try their luck.
Conclusion on the history of betting
The history of sports betting goes back as far as the existence of sports and therefore the first men. It has developed over the centuries until it is now at a level that has never been seen before. There have never been as many sports competitions, bookmakers and bettors in the world as there are today. There has never been as much money at stake in the history of sports betting as there is now.