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    Exactly what started betting on sports activities


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    To learn what started gambling on sports one has to first examine the history of sports gambling in the US. The US had a long history of permitting some kinds of legal gambling and even illegal gambling to some extent. Political control and scandals concerning gaming interests have ended in certain backlashes that have resulted in prohibition or regulating sports gambling. Standards and laws pertaining to sports gambling have kept changing.

    Nelson Rose explains these adjustments in law as three waves. The first wave was during the colonial era that lasted till the mid 1800s, the 2nd wave started at the end of the Civil War and lasted till the early Twentieth century and also the third wave commenced during the Great Depression and it's still continuing.

    Throughout the Colonial Era, diverse attitudes were enforced towards betting. Puritan attitudes were adopted towards gambling and possessing dice, cards, gaming tables etc were outlawed. Afterwards it was allowed so long as it wasn't a calling or trade but for moderate and innocent recreation. Settlers brought with them views that said gambling was merely a harmless past time. The frontier spirit encouraged the appeal of gambling as it involved high risk, high expectations and opportunism.

    Ultimately all colonies used lotteries as a solution out of financial problems and to help the colonies. It became a civic responsibility and proceeds were utilized to establish some of the first prestigious universities, build churches and also libraries. Lotteries remained popular right to the early Nineteenth century. Horse racing had also been preferred and the Long Island built the first race track in 1665. Casino gaming began to emerge slowly as roadhouses and taverns began to allow card games and dice.

    The Lower Mississippi Valley became a structured and legitimate gambling area in 1800s. The mighty river with its riverboats became a major trade avenue for both wealthy merchants and farmers. New Orleans soon gained recognition as being the gambling capital. During the 1830s southern settlers turned against professional gamblers who had been held responsible for committing crimes, debasing morals of society and endangering streets. During 1800s there was increasing attack of gambling especially lotteries and when operators absconded with all the proceeds lottery scandals eventually led to prohibition of gambling.

    The Gold Rush in California triggered a tremendous increase in the types of gambling and San Francisco was crowned the new gambling capital in the USA. During 1849 and 1855 gambling spread widely and by 1850 California and many cities had licensed gambling centers. But soon the Legislature made most forms of gambling illegal and certain professional gamblers were lynched. This prohibition drove gambling activities underground and did not eliminate it. Gambling was legal during 1869-1910 in Nevada.

    It is easy to now understand what started gambling on sports in the US. With all the numerous scandals within the lottery gambling segments, 35 states in America including California prohibited lotteries. In 1933 pari-mutuel betting was legalized and new automated systems and laws made horse racing betting more honest. In 1978 casino gambling was legalized by New Jersey and Atlantic City became a popular tourist destination. Despite its illegality sports gambling became very popular and already is a high dollar industry.