To understand what started gambling on sports one has to first examine the historical past of sports gambling in the US. The USA has a long history of allowing some kinds of legal gambling and even illegal betting to a certain degree. Political control and scandals concerning gaming interests have ended in certain backlashes that have lead to prohibition or regulation of sports gambling. Standards and laws relating 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 at the end of the Civil War and lasted up until the early 20th Century and also the third wave commenced during the Great Depression and is still continuing.
During the Colonial Era, diverse attitudes were enforced towards gambling. Puritan attitudes were adopted towards gambling and possessing dice, cards, gaming tables etc were banned. Afterwards it had been allowed as long as it was not a calling or trade except for moderate and innocent recreation. Settlers brought with them views that said gambling was merely a harmless activity. The frontier spirit encouraged the appeal of gambling as it involved risk taking, high expectations and opportunism. best sport betting system
Ultimately all colonies used lotteries as a solution out of financial problems as well as help the colonies. It became a civic responsibility and proceeds were used to establish a number of the first prestigious universities, build churches and even libraries. Lotteries remained popular right to the initial Nineteenth 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 began to allow card games and dice.
The Lower Mississippi Valley became an organized and legitimate gambling area in 1800s. The grand river featuring its riverboats was a major trade avenue for wealthy merchants and farmers. New Orleans quickly gained recognition as being the gambling capital. Through the 1830s southern settlers turned against professional gamblers who had been blamed for carrying out crimes, debasing morals of society and endangering streets. During 1800s there seemed to be 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 types 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 forms of gambling illegal and a number of professional gamblers were lynched. This prohibition drove gambling activities underground and could not eliminate it. Gambling was legal during 1869-1910 in Nevada.
It is possible to now understand what started gambling on sports in the US. With the many 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 straightforward. In 1978 casino gambling was legalized by New Jersey and Atlantic City was a popular tourist destination. Despite its illegality sports gambling became very popular and today is a billion dollar industry.