The Simple History of US Sports Betting in Three Stages

bet - The Simple History of US Sports Betting in Three Stages

Sports betting has long been a part of certain American states. One would even go to say that the idea of sports betting is hard-coded into the lives of some states.

For those who reading who did not know that sports betting was huge back in the day, don’t worry about it. It’s probably because it was banned not so long ago.

However, what you do need to know is that some steps are being taken for its legalization in more and more states in America.

Let’s revisit the history of sports betting in America. This way, we can see where we’ve been and hopefully, we can steer us away from what led to its banning in the first place.

Here is the history of sports betting in three simple steps as presented by Regated.

The Origin

The concept of “betting” has been in use for hundreds if not thousands of years. There is something almost raw and essential in two people watching a particular event and seeing whose guess will be correct.

In America, sports betting was alive even before the Revolutionary War. Back then, the horse race track was just established. This particular interest was taken from across the pond in England where horse racing was often done.

After approximately 200 years in 1868, horse racing – and the subsequent betting on them – became an organized enterprise in the country. It continued to garner interest, attention, and money. Sadly, it was deemed illegal by the 1900s.

Sports betting as a whole though was still operating. However, it was ruining the many different sports it was getting into.

The Ban

The concept of “game fixing” came to be, where teams would best against their own selves or team, place a sizeable bet on themselves on the other team, and then lose on purpose to earn more money.

The allure of money in sports betting was getting to the athletes and sports.

This led to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992. This law outlawed betting throughout America, with the exception of a few states. Nevada was one of the only states to allow sports betting.


Fast forward to the 21st century. Early on in 2010 and onwards, surveys on sports betting were being distributed across the states.

Throughout the years, several surveys showed that people preferred to have sports gambling legalized. The numbers only grew throughout the years.

By 2012, sports gambling was legalized in certain licensed locations in New Jersey. This could be seen as the spark that ignited it all.

From here, another suit was filed to the PASPA stating the ban on sports betting in the other states of the United States violated the state’s rights. In May of 2018, the supreme court agreed that it was violating the rights of the states.

Since then, a movement has started in the many different states of America. States such as Mississippi, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania have already begun drafting rules for their respective commissions.

It seems like it is only a matter of time before sports betting is legalized in a majority of the states in America. However, people must still be wary of the corrupting effect that sports betting could have on the athletes and sports betting.

The history of sports betting is a potent story that people should be aware of.

There is nothing wrong with the sports betting. However, used in the wrong way, it could corrupt the very sports we still enjoy and love. Let’s aim to keep it that way.