History of Sports betting — how Marginless sees it? (1 of 3)

Betting has been around for thousands of years now. As our CEO Lukas Jonaitis said, “Sports betting has a long-lasting history dating back to the Olympic Games which initially took place in Greece. The process combines a desire to win with the passion for sports. This powerful synergy has created a multibillion dollar industry with its opportunities and quirks. Back in the times of Roman Empire betting reached incredible popularity as crowds gambled on the outcomes of gladiators fights as well as many other sporting events. We have written an article regarding our view on this long lasting niche and how we see it as an upcoming betting platform.

It is a good bet that wagering on sports predates historical records. As long as there have been contests with winners and losers, there has been betting. However, when it comes to the promotion of sports betting as a popular social activity, much of the credit goes to Greece, home of the Olympic Games.

Thousands of years ago, athletic competitions were held in Corinth, Delphi, Nemea, and Olympus. Events included footraces, hurling the discus, long jumping, throwing the javelin, wrestling, boxing, and a form of free-style fighting. Contestants would dress in full battle array, including body armour and helmets, and prize money was bestowed on the victors. But there was even more to be gained in the viewing stands at these events, where excited spectators wagered on the outcomes, sometimes gaining or losing entire estates in the bargain.

Even bigger sports bettors were the Early Romans, who saw gambling as a metaphor for Life. During the 1st century, Pliny the Elder wrote, “We are so much at the mercy of chance that Chance is our god.” As Roman legions spread far and wide, so did their proclivity for wagering — a legacy that long outlasted their Empire.

A professional approach to cash betting as means of profit generation has started from horse races. Originally, the main purpose of horse races was to compare the results of the horses and demonstrate their advantages to potential buyers. History of sports betting was to compare the results of the horses and demonstrate their advantages to potential buyers. In order to get some interest, complete strangers started to make bets among themselves which of the horses will finish first. Originally, it happened spontaneously, but in the 19th century, first professional bookmakers started operating in England. They were the people who controlled the process of accepting bets and prize payout, and kept a small profit from this process.

Some years later, devices that automatically calculated the winning odds for particular event according to the bets distribution were created. They were called totalizators. After everyone put a bet on an particular event and total amount of money was known, bookmaker’s percent was deducted as a service fee from that amount, and the rest of money was distributed among the winners. Obviously, the more people bet on the winning outcome, the less money each of them received at the end. In order to increase the amount one can win and make a bet more attractive, bookmakers complicated bets in various ways. For example, one had to predict not just one outcome of the particular event, but the outcomes of several sequential races at once. In this case the winning odd increased substantially.

The growing popularity of Internet is an important stage in development of bookmaking business. Earlier, in order to make a bet, it was required to visit the bookmaker’s office personally. This necessity has become irrelevant with the development of information and telecommunication technologies.

At first, betting websites offered a small selection of betting events, but as years went by, the situation changed for the better. A big improvement for bettors was introduction of live betting — the bets could be place on any outcome of the sporting event that was taking place live. Nowadays many offices work on the Internet even without having land based points of sale.

Creation of Bookmaker’s exchanges was the next stage in the development of online operations. Players started to bet not with the bookmaker alone, but with the other players. Thus, everyone could act as a bookmaker on the exchange. In this case, the profit of the exchange was a fee in a form of interest paid by the winner.

Internet provides a wealth of opportunities not only to bookmakers, but also to players. Today there are things available for the player that no one dreamed of even a few years ago. One can study betting strategies, watch the progress of sports matches using online broadcasts, analyze statistics from various online sources. For example, learning analytics of the upcoming football match allows the client to place the right bet and increase his chances to win. The modern player has access to information, and it is commonly known, the one who owns information, owns the world.


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