One could almost consider the tracing of the exact origin and history of sports betting around the world an exercise in futility; because for a long time, any form of betting or gambling was frowned upon in many parts of the world but the reverse is the case now as it is seen as a normal side attraction for every sporting event taking place all over the world. So what form of betting was done in the old days, was shrouded with utmost secrecy. One would not be wrong to say that the Greeks and Romans definitely loved their games; the more dangerous it looked, the more fun they had. It is also no secret that the Olympics as we know it today originated from Greece. So it was no surprise to see Roman emperors place wagers on horse races or any form of competitive activity like the various cock-fights and bare knuckle fist fights that took place in the Arenas in Corinth, Delphi, Nemea, and Olympus as those where the only places betting was legally accepted. It was also believed that Emperor Augustus was one who took his bets seriously.
In 1960, things became a little less muffled in America; sports betting took a dramatic turn with the emergence of televised sports-this signified a new revolution for the sport betting industry. The US government decided to eliminate a 10% tax on sport betting wagers in 1974. This development led to the opening of sports books by several land based casinos to discourage customers from leaving the premises to place bets elsewhere. It also contributed to the generation of high revenues during down seasons.
Over the years, sports betting in European countries became more and more refined. The defining point in the history of sports betting in Greece occurred when a piece of legislation was passed in 1996 that saw the award of exclusive bookmaking rights to the State by the Greek government. This exclusive right which were originally meant to expire by the year 2020 but was later given an additional decade was enjoyed by the Greek Organization of football Prognostics (OPAP). This has in turn positioned them on the global map as one the largest bookmakers to contend with as bookmaking is strictly regulated in Europe.
Even though it is still illegal in the United States, to operate a betting scheme in any state other than Oregon, Nevada, Delaware and Montana, households in New Jersey are fighting to make sport betting legal. Currently it is estimated that about $10 trillion is spent annually on sports betting and could even exceed this figure if illegal betting is taking into consideration. It would not be terribly out of place to say that sportsbetting activities have drizzled down significantly and this could not be unconnected to the huge efforts of various governments trying to reduce the amount of betting going on.
The state legislature of New Jersey finally signed a law that would permit sports betting activities in Atlantic City casinos and New Jersey race tracks in 2012, despite several stumbling blocks placed by federal law. Currently legal and illegal betting in the states takes place on the internet and with illicit bookmakers. It is no secret that the National Football League discourages any form of sports betting in the country as they are of the opinion that it breeds corruption in the system, causes players to fix and throw games. No doubt, through the years, sports betting have made a remarkable journey-by taking us through the ruins of ancient Rome through the race tracks of England down to the sporting fields of America and unto our computer screens.
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