The History of Sports Betting Across the Globe

Sports betting has existed as long as sport itself in both America and Europe and has formed an integral part of games such as football, tennis and baseball. In recent decades, the popularity of the pastime has gone from strength to strength.BeginningsEven before European settlers made their way across the Atlantic, early civilizations like the Mayans were wagering over spectator sports as enthusiastically as they were taking part in them.

Every social group was involved, from the peasant masses to the ruling emperors. Similarly, in Europe, the ancient Greeks and Romans were betting on the earliest athletic competitions in the hope that their favorite would come out top. Medieval times saw wagers on activities such as skittles and the Italian bowling game of ‘bocce’ although these centuries saw several attempts to ban gaming in countries like England, where Sky Bet promo codes have made gaming such a success today.

However, competitions which developed military skill such as archery were honored during the reign of Richard II in the 1300s and it wasn’t long before money changed hands on who was the best in the battlefield. The Renaissance years brought many a pastime to the forefront of the county fair, thanks to betting potential.

Some were more arduous than others, for example, the curious craze for betting on ‘shin-kicking’ to see which participant could withstand physical pain the longest. In later centuries, people would place bets on how long a given distance would take to walk or run, sometimes crossing country boundaries and traversing thousands of miles.

 The most famous reference to this trend is in Jules Verne’s novel ‘Around the world in Eighty Days’. These grand ventures seem a long way from the average football match wager placed through modern Sky Bet promo codes.

The Turn of the Leagues Sports betting started getting organized almost as soon as a sport did. Leagues did not come about until late on in the 19th century, although college and university championships were often bet on. Gaming was originally a pursuit of the upper classes, particularly in mainland Europe and the UK. In fact, the gentleman’s pastime of going to the horse races is what first encouraged sports betting as an activity.

These first races were fashionable meets for the society elite and the first bets placed could be both a frivolous hobby and an earnest attempt at increasing their wealth.UK football, golf, and rugby were all granted leagues in the late 1800s and the American National Association of Base Ball Players was founded even earlier, in 1858. In these early years, not all teams were professional but sports betting took off as an industry in its own right, especially as more and more sports had produced their own leagues by the early 20th century, tennis, pro-boxing, motorsports to name just a few.

Although only certain forms of gaming are legal in certain states in the present-day USA and sports betting is only legal in Nevada, sports betting is still a major player in the UK and mainland Europe. With the advent of free betting and gaming online, there are now more options and a dazzling variety of action to get involved in, from winter sports such as bobsledding to mixed martial arts and Aussie Rules football.

Anna Mathews is a sports writer and sometime blogger who writes gaming posts for both online casinos and sports interest sites. During research she got information on casino gaming, sports betting and poker needs from She’s dabbled with Sky Bet promo codes and track-side bookies in equal measure and his research has taken her to even stranger betting arenas than Renaissance fair ‘shin-kicking’.