A Brief History of Sports Bookmaking

The idea of bookmaking originated from Richard Tattersall’s horse auction business around the year 1780, in England. Even today, the bookies of English Race tracks set up their respective stalls in what is known as the ‘Tattersall Enclosure’. The term ‘bookie’ was coined from the idea of book making or keeping track of the bets on a notebook. But the honesty of the bookmaker is very important for him to be reputable and successful and the era of the ‘honest bookmaker’ was ushered in by two men – Fred Swindell and Leviathan Davies in and around the 1850’s. Davies also originated the ‘odds list’ to facilitate the off-track bets. For more details, please visit these sites:- www.bunnydirectories.com

When it comes to the US of A, t he first bookmaking business was started in 1866 in Philadelphia. It is obvious that the founders of this fine nation were great risk-takers and this idea of betting seemed to flow in that vein very easily. So ever since 1866, America has been betting quite fervently on every possible occasion, often illegally. During the first bets, the events were mainly makeshift horse races, cock fights knuckle brawls. The colonists had carried the tradition of betting with them and hence it flowed in similar veins. The betting was and still is sometimes not only a way to make money but a leisure time activity. So no matter what sports was happening, some one was always there to make a bet; it seems to come naturally to America. May be they inherited it from the English colonists, who knows.

There was a huge buzz surrounding the sports betting scenario and this continued throughout the 19th century and well in to the early 20th century. In the beginning, it was a leisure activity for many and the sport was meant mainly for the upper classes that enjoyed and wagered on it. Post the civil war time; many horse race tracks came up in various places in the eastern region and bettors of all economic backgrounds gathered at those places in large numbers. Since the 1930’s horse race betting has been on a steady decline and other sports have taken their place. The horse race tracks reached their peaks in the 1920’s when there were over 300 racetracks in the country. In addition to these there were thousands of pool-halls all over America where off-track betting was going on. The halls were connected to the racetracks by telegraph wires through which the news of the race reached the halls.

Betting on professional Baseball gained popularity around the 1800’s. The Baseball ‘pool cards’ came in to existence and they offered a lot of information on the betting options that the person had. But the odds were modified largely to suit the interests of the house. Later, as sports betting became more popular, the publication of sport books gave people to bet on a more level playing field without the bookies.



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