The First Sport to Receive Bets

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Sports betting has a contentious history in America, thanks to scandals like the 1919 World Series and the 2002 NBA Western Conference Game Six. Several controversial characters, such as Pete Rose and Tim Donaghy, added fuel to keeping sports betting illegal.

Thankfully, recent years have seen massive sports betting reform, with several states decriminalizing it. Many states have also introduced stringent regulations on sports betting to maintain its integrity.


While sports bettors might have had to visit a physical casino or betting establishment, some states have legalized online sports betting. This became a welcome option during COVID-19 as many facilities were closed in accordance with public health regulations.

Some entrepreneurs have even focused on designing a sports betting app that makes placing a bet from home on your phone even more convenient. These apps undergo rigorous scrutiny before being allowed into app stores to ensure that they are not criminal enterprises.

The COVID-19 dip

Undoubtedly, the convenience of online sports betting helped many sports enthusiasts get through COVID closures and rising infection rates. However, most sports were forced to shut down their operations to curb the virus’s spread. 

Sports bettors were left frustrated as they had the means to bet but nothing to place a wager on. This reality saw people finding obscure sports events in foreign countries that remained open, and many have become die-hard fans.   

A brief history

Sports betting dates back more than 2,000 years to the Roman Empire. It was common for Rome’s residents to place bets on chariot races or gladiator fights. Perhaps this explains why horse racing and boxing remain some of the most bet-upon sports even today.

However, they are far exceeded by football, basketball, and baseball in America. Despite the White Sox scandal, many bettors place wagers on America’s favorite pastime. For those looking to enjoy life differently, sports like golf and soccer are growing in popularity among bettors.

International trends

Soccer (or football as it is known around the world) is the most bet-upon sport globally. Billions of dollars in bets change hands annually as gamblers place wagers on league games and tournaments, such as the World Cup.

Cricket is also a popular betting sport, although it, too, has been hit by some gigantic betting scandals. Match-fixing is a serious concern. The game is popular in England and former British colonies, such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.