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The History of the Online Sportsbook Industry

Although it seems we could never live without the Internet, the truth is the World Wide Web wasn’t a household entity until Tim Berners-Lee invented it in 1990. The first makings started in 1983, when shortly after, researchers brought together a “network of networks”, paving the way to perhaps the biggest technological advance in human existence. The Internet has come leaps and bounds since then, and with it, so did the sports betting industry.

The origins of sports betting can be traced back more than 2000 years ago, when the Greeks’ love for sports introduced betting. It quickly made it’s way to ancient Rome where historian’s say betting on the gladiator games was a common practice. As time went on, gambling became very popular in England, starting with horse race betting. The United States quickly caught the betting bug, and became a popular pastime for many people.

The evolution of sports betting has seen it become a multi-billion dollar business, with reports predicting some $400 billion spent per year, although a specific figure would be hard to figure with so many underground bookies.

Las Vegas legalized sports betting in the 1950’s, and bettors could place wagers at casinos all over Sin City. For those not in Vegas, placing a bet was impossible, leading to the advent of the offshore bookmakers industry. From the mid-1980’s until the Internet became an everyday thing, betting shops conducted their business through toll-free phone lines. Those lines are still open today for those slow to progress with technology.

It’s said that the first online wager was accepted on January 16, 1996 when a Finnish gambler by the name of Jukka Honkavaara wagered $50 on Tottenham Hotspur to defeat Hereford United, a bet he won. With that, the online sports betting industry was born.

The turn of the century saw exponential growth in the online gambling industry, which included poker and casinos as well as sports betting. Although the US government has tried to crack down on the industry, it still thrives today, and is bigger and better than ever.

The online sports betting industry has evolved to what it is today, where you can literally bet on anything. The day has passed where you can only place a straight bet on a side or the total. These days live betting has become very popular, with options to bet on politics and popular award shows like the Oscars. Obviously none of this would have been possible with an online community that has flourished in the last 10 years.

Studies show that as of June 2017, 51% of the world’s population has access to the Internet, which equates to about 3.8 billion people. Not only has the Internet been responsible for tremendous growth in the sports betting world, it has changed how we communicate, the way businesses operate and even how we shop. Some 500 billion dollars will be spent online in 2018.

In May, the Supreme Court cleared the way for states to legalize sports betting. Where this may get some bettors more active, online sportsbooks are still the way to go. Not only have they been doing it and perfecting it for over 20 years, the convenience is worth it alone.

Most online sportsbooks have easy to use mobile interfaces, allowing you to place a bet no matter where you are, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The positives don’t end there. The available betting options are literally countless, as mentioned earlier. Straight bets, teasers, live betting and prop bets are some of the more popular options, along with casinos and racebooks.

In short, the online sports betting industry has been around for a very long time, and has the staying power due to advances in technology. Online sportsbooks are continuously finding ways to improve for the bettor, and will continue to make it easier to bet, and hopefully increase your bankroll.