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Ancient Greeks and Roman Empires

Origins, Part One

Roman chariot race


The Origins 

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that sports betting, in one form or another, has been around for almost as long as sports itself has. Today, sports betting is a multi-billion dollar industry that every major sport, including football, soccer, basketball, baseball, boxing, racing, and more, has cashed in on.

By predicting the results of sports events and placing a wager on these predictions, people have won huge amounts of money if their predictions turn out to be true. It’s not difficult to understand the appeal that this type of gambling has, and it’s double the fun if you enjoy gambling and also an avid sports fan!

Ancient Beginnings 

The earliest records of sports betting dates back to the ancient Greeks, who were very much into athletic activities. After all, it was them that gave us the Olympics, which is still organized every year to this day. Their love for sporting events gave way to the spectators betting among themselves on who the winners would be. 

Then, the ancient Romans soon adopted sports betting as well. You have probably seen movies where gladiators in ancient Rome would engage in thrilling swordfights in the Colosseum, while people surrounded them and cheered on their favorite fighters.

It was not uncommon for many of these spectators to place bets on the fighters they thought had the best chance of emerging victorious. In fact, betting on gladiator games became so popular in Rome that it was eventually legalized. Even when gladiator games were stopped years later, the ancient Romans already had a taste for sports betting, and they continued to place wagers on other sporting events such as chariot racing and horse racing.

Sports Betting in Contemporary History

Around the 17thcentury, horse racing as a sport started gaining popularity in England. Soon after, people started betting on the horses, and horse race betting became a huge industry that quickly spread to the rest of the world.

Horse race betting became especially popular in the US, and till today, it is a favorite pastime of many gamblers. In the 1950s, gaming operators in Las Vegas made sports betting available in their casinos, which made the activity attract an even bigger crowd than before. At the time, gamblers had to actually be physically present in the casinos to place their bets, but today, online sportsbooks have made it possible for people to place their bets from the comfort of their own homes. 

It’s not just in the US that people love sports betting. Europe has the biggest sports betting market in the world today, churning out billions every year in revenue. 

For centuries, people have always loved sports betting as a fun activity, and there is no reason to believe that this will change in the near future. 


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