To learn what started gambling on sports one has to first examine the history of sports gambling in America. The USA has a long history of allowing some kinds of legal gambling and even illegal betting to some extent. Political control and scandals regarding gaming interests have ended in certain backlashes which have resulted in prohibition or regulation of sports gambling. Standards and laws relating to sports gambling have kept changing.
Nelson Rose describes these changes in law as three waves. The first wave was in the colonial era that lasted up until the mid 1800s, the second wave started at the end of the Civil War and lasted till the early Twentieth century and the third wave commenced during the Great Depression and it’s still continuing.
During the Colonial Era, different attitudes were enforced towards gambling. Puritan attitudes were adopted towards gambling and possessing dice, cards, gaming tables etc were banned. Later on it had been allowed so long as it was not a calling or trade but for moderate and innocent recreation. Settlers brought with them views that said gambling was merely a harmless past time. The frontier spirit encouraged the appeal of gambling as it involved high risk, high expectations and opportunism. sure betting legal
Ultimately all colonies used lotteries as a solution out of financial problems and to benefit the colonies. It became a civic responsibility and proceeds were utilized to create a number of the first prestigious universities, build churches and also libraries. Lotteries continued to be popular right to the early 19th Century. Horse racing was also popular and the Long Island built the very first race track in 1665. Casino gaming began to emerge slowly as roadhouses and taverns began to allow card games and dice.
The Lower Mississippi Valley became a structured and legitimate gambling area in 1800s. The mighty river featuring its riverboats became a major trade avenue for wealthy merchants and farmers. New Orleans quickly gained recognition as the gambling capital. During the 1830s southern settlers turned against professional gamblers who had been blamed for committing crimes, debasing morals of society and endangering streets. During 1800s there seemed to be 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 became 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 forms of gambling illegal and certain professional gamblers were lynched. This prohibition drove gambling 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 all the numerous 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 preferred tourist destination. Regardless of its illegality sports gambling became very popular and today is a billion dollar industry.