Most of us may be under the impression that sports betting is a modern phenomenon. Well, certain facets of it are, but the concept of placing money on the outcome of a sporting event has its roots in ancient civilizations; the Roman age, for instance.
Back then, chariot races provided the legalised form of sports betting, although there are anecdotal instances of even great emperors like Augustus partaking in illegal betting activities. It could very well be said that the Greeks and Romans provided the building blocks of our modern world, and that this included the sportsbook.
The New World provided the ideal setting for the rise of not only modern sports, such as baseball and basketball, but also the sportsbook. More and more people could now place bets legally. There was, however, a slight change in the betting dynamics.
Up until the late 19th century, a punter could place money on individual-centric sports. With the surge in baseball, sports betting went from individual to team in one fell swoop. Where before you could only bet on the outcome or the place position of a particular individual, the team opened up more betting options. For instance, with baseball, punters could bet on home runs, strike outs and such. Betting on sports became a much, much more interesting affair.
With options that involved placing bets during a game, punters could now follow the match and hedge money on a particular play. In another swift move, fans could now even indulge in a wager while watching their favourite team play an opponent.
As an interesting aside, in the early days, even baseball managers could bet on their teams to win or lose a game. Cap Anson, who managed the Chicago Colts, placed $100 on his team to finish higher than the Pittsburgh Pirates. Those were the heady days of late 19th century innocence. Today, the same act would be a headline-grabbing scandal.
This dry, desert town has become the nerve centre of all things related to sports betting; and there is quite an interesting story behind it. The origins of sportsbooks in Nevada was as a separate business entity from that of the casinos. The two had an informal agreement that they would stay out of each other’s way. Then came the 70s, and, as with everything else, even that agreement changed - for the better, we must add.
With the tax on sports betting lowered from a lofty 10% to a measly 2%, Frank Rosenthal, the owner of Stardust Casino, had the foresight to strike a partnership with the turf clubs that ran the industry. The rest, as they say, is history.
Sportsbooks today have evolved into a sophisticated, regulated industry, almost unrecognisable from its early versions. Walk into any centre, and you will find giant television screens, comfortable seats for punters to watch live matches, interactive betting stations and computerised odds boards. Everything is systematic and organised; a far cry from the chaos and crowd that was once a signature of sports betting.
For anyone wanting to bet on sporting outcomes, but reluctant to join the fray or walk into a betting shop, online sportsbook was a welcome addition to the array of online gambling opportunities available. Many more punters now place bets with sportsbook, and with a bit of judgement and insider knowledge, sportsbook winnings are possible for anyone.
Take a quick glance at the industry, and you will see that sportsbooks continue to be a popular choice among punters. The annual Super Bowl attracts the most attention, and remains the highest earner for the Nevada sportsbook industry. In the past decade, annual profits have hovered around the $5.5 million mark for this game alone.
These days there is often little distinction between an online casino and a sportsbook. Many online sportsbook sites exist as a fully-integrated part of the casino itself, offering odds on a huge range of different sports and events.
Mobile casinos have also been a big hit with sportsbook fans, as they now have a chance to keep abreast of the action as it happens and follow their bets at all times. This new facet of online sportsbook has boosted the popularity of live betting, as the sportsbook on mobile can provide moment by moment updates on any matches the punter is interested in.