To understand what started gambling on sports one has to first examine the historical past of sports gambling in the US. The US had a long history of allowing some kinds of legal gambling and even illegal gambling to some extent. Political control and scandals regarding gaming interests have ended in selected backlashes which have lead to prohibition or regulation of sports gambling. Standards and laws relating to sports gambling have kept altering.
Nelson Rose describes these adjustments in law as three waves. The 1st wave was in the colonial era that lasted up until the mid 1800s, the 2nd wave started following the Civil War and lasted till the early 20th Century and the 3rd wave commenced while in the Great Depression and is still continuing.
During the Colonial Era, diverse attitudes were enforced towards gambling. Puritan attitudes were adopted towards gambling and possessing dice, cards, gaming tables etc were banned. Later on it had been allowed so long as it was not a calling or trade but for moderate and innocent recreation. Settlers brought with them views that said gambling was merely a harmless activity. The frontier spirit encouraged the appeal of gambling as it involved risk taking, high expectations and opportunism. arbitrage betting advice
Eventually all colonies used lotteries as being a solution from economic problems as well as help the colonies. It was a civic responsibility and profits were used to create some of the first prestigious universities, build churches and even libraries. Lotteries remained popular right to the initial Nineteenth century. Horse racing was also popular and the Long Island built the first race track in 1665. Casino gaming started 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 featuring its riverboats became a major trade avenue for wealthy merchants and farmers. New Orleans soon gained recognition as the gambling capital. Through the 1830s southern settlers turned against professional gamblers who were 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 the proceeds lottery scandals finally led to prohibition of gambling.
The Gold Rush in California triggered a tremendous surge in the kinds 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 lots of cities had licensed gambling centers. But soon the Legislature made most forms of gambling illegal and a number of professional gamblers were lynched. This prohibition drove wagering activities underground and did not eliminate it. Gambling was legal during 1869-1910 in Nevada.
It is possible to now understand what started gambling on sports in the US. With all the numerous scandals in 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 quite popular and already is a billion dollar industry.