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The History Wagering In America

by admin on Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Wagering In AmericaBetting on sporting events has been going on since the dawn of time.  In fact, being a bookie is sometimes called the world’s second oldest profession. It’s just human nature. Anytime you have a competition of any sort, there will be spectators on hand who have differing opinions as to who will prevail. Quite naturally one or the other of these opinionated sports fans will suggest a small wager on the outcome… and then we will need someone to hold the money and adjudicate the outcome and pay off the winner. That’s how bookies came into being in the first place.

So, when the American colonies got started, wagering on sports was already a time honored practice without any sort of government restrictions whatsoever. At different times in our history, in different areas of the country, public opinion has forced gambling to adapt a lower profile. In the early 19th century the lower Mississippi Valley was infamous for gambling with riverboats plying up and down the Mississippi and other rivers. In the ‘Old West’, gamblers were viewed by the general public as respected members of society working at an honest trade.

However, by the early 20th century, gambling had been outlawed in nearly every state in the union and a way of life for many came to an end. It was not until the unfortunate experiment called ‘Prohibition’ that things really got out of hand with organized crime elements moving in to control gambling as an extension of their illegal booze business.

But certain areas of the country still remained friendly to gambling and wagering houses sprang up in Miami, Florida, Galveston, Texas and Hot Springs, Arkansas which became flourishing centers of gambling activity and attracted tourist trade from all over the country.

One state where gambling has always been legal in Nevada with its showcase city of Las Vegas. The transformation from a sleepy dessert community with a brightly lit strip of clubs and casinos to the booming metropolis that Las Vegas is today owes the bulk of its growth and success to gambling.

In 1977, the State of New Jersey legalized gambling in Atlantic City causing a rapid growth of the seaside burg into one of the most popular destinations on the entire northeast coast of the US. In 1996, Michigan legalized gambling in the city of Detroit and about that same time Internet wagering began to be offered by offshore sportsbooks and quickly exploded into worldwide popularity.

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