Betting on sports is booming. Last year, Nevada’s sportsbooks took in almost $2 billion. But that’s a tiny part of the worldwide $63 billion bet online yearly, including sites like Around 25% of Americans bet on a sport yearly, and 15% bet.

The growth of sports betting, including at places like Bizzo Casino, touches everyone – from middle-class families to pro bettors. Despite government efforts to limit it, betting’s future looks big and bright. “Now, it’s not a few people betting; it’s a huge part of society,” says Bob Scucci from Stardust Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

History of Sports Betting: The Beginning

In the early days, horse racing was for the upper class, but after the Civil War, it became popular with everyone as tracks popped up all over the East. Bookies started setting odds on horses to get more people to bet, a method still used today.

By the 1920s, the U.S. had over 300 racetracks and many off-track betting places. Horse racing was the top betting choice until other sports like baseball caught people’s interest. Betting on baseball grew, especially with ‘pool cards’ that let you bet on many games for cheap, though the odds were against the bettor.

The 1919 World Series scandal, where some players fixed games, made sports betting look bad, but betting kept growing. The 1920s saw a boom in betting on college sports and boxing. During the Great Depression, pool cards for football and baseball were super popular despite the wrong odds.

Jimmy Vaccaro, who used to run a sportsbook, says betting back then was thrilling but risky. Winning big on bets was possible, but it took more work than now.

Sports Gambling History: The Point Spread

Before the point spread, betting was riskier. Favorites meant high risk, and underdogs could bring big wins. The point spread was created in the 1940s by Charles McNeil. It balanced bets on both game sides, reducing bookies’ risks. This allowed for more consistent profits and more betting options. The introduction of T.V. in the 1950s boosted the popularity of sports betting. People could watch the games they bet on. This helped shape today’s betting scene in places like Las Vegas.

The History of the Sports Betting Industry: The Minneapolis Line

In the 1930s, Leo Hirschfield’s company started creating and sharing betting lines nationwide. They became a big name in sports betting. His company, based in Minneapolis, helped bookies and bettors. One of their publications was “The Green Sheet.” Despite serving many illegal bookmakers, Hirschfield’s operation was legit. He and his team, including a young Mort Olshan who later founded The Gold Sheet, worked hard. They researched sports news from across the country to create accurate lines. They charged clients about $25 a week for their service. Hirschfield even paid airplane crews for newspapers from everywhere to get the latest info. Yet, by the early 1960s, new laws against discussing gambling on the phone led to the company’s closure. But, they set a standard for sports betting lines in America before closing.

Sports Betting History: Nevada Opens the Doors to Sports Betting

In 1931, Nevada legalized gambling. It transformed from a struggling state into a tourist magnet. This was thanks to casinos, boxing, easy divorce, and prostitution. Sports betting, initially illegal, became legal in 1951 but took off in 1974 when taxes were lowered significantly. This change led to the rise of casino sports books, making old ‘turf clubs’ a thing of the past. Jimmy ‘The Greek’ Snyder and Roxy Roxborough made betting on sports popular. Their work led to high-tech betting places like the Mirage in 1989. Nevada became a leading spot for sports betting thanks to these developments.

The History of the Sports Gambling Industry: Present and Future

Nevada’s sports betting has dropped over the past decade due to offshore betting and strict rules. Despite this, places like Stardust still see high profits. They believe the social side of betting in Las Vegas keeps it popular. Significant losses, like Stardust’s $1 million Super Bowl loss, show that betting success is rare. Yet, more states legalize it. Sports betting’s popularity is expected to keep growing.

History of Sports Betting Since 2005

In the early 2000s, Nevada was the only place in the U.S. where sports betting was legal. Many Americans use offshore websites like Bodog and BetOnline for sports betting. Federal law didn’t allow it. Despite this, betting was popular from coast to coast.

Las Vegas was the gambling king. But even there, traditional sportsbooks saw a downturn because online betting was more accessible for people.

Then, in May 2018, everything changed. The U.S. Supreme Court decided states could choose to allow sports betting. New Jersey led this fight, hoping to legalize sports betting within its borders.

This decision marked a big moment for sports betting in the U.S., opening doors for its legal expansion across the country.

Oct. 13, 2006

President George W. Bush signs the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. This law stops companies from taking payments for online bets. The bets must be illegal under any federal or state law.

The law was made to stop online poker and casino games but also covers online sports betting. t did not apply to online daily fantasy sports (DFS) sites because that was a game of skill.

In March 2009, New Jersey sued to end the federal ban on sports betting (PASPA). The state aimed to bring legal sports gambling to New Jersey.

By January 2018, $5 billion was expected to be bet on Super Bowl LII. In May 2018, the Supreme Court let states decide on sports betting laws, with New Jersey leading. Soon after, Delaware offered single-game betting. In August 2018, DraftKings started online betting in New Jersey, a first outside Nevada. By 2021, the NFL teamed up with significant betting firms, making $270 million. The first legal sportsbook in D.C. opened in May 2021. In 2022, MLB player Charlie Blackmon teamed up with a sportsbook. By July 2022, 66% of Americans liked legal sports betting. By January 2023, over 30 states had legal sports betting.

The Future of U.S. Sports Betting

Missouri and Vermont are planning to allow sports betting. Minnesota and Oklahoma might start having sports betting in tribal casinos. Florida, Texas, and California are significant markets. They don’t have legal sportsbooks yet. This is due to legal battles, political opposition, or pending voter decisions. States started regulating sports betting five years ago. Since then, bettors have wagered over $220 billion. New York placed the most bets, followed by New Jersey and Nevada. The NFL, NHL, and MLB were once against legal betting. Now, they partner with major operators like BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, and FanDuel. These companies control over 80% of the legal market. Expert sports picks and premium bets are available with a sign-up option for those looking to bet.


I am passionate about creating captivating digital content with a focus on technology and social media.