The history of sports bets

General May 31, 2019 7:43 am

Bookmaker vs. player: The bookmaker sets the odds, the player places his bet. It’s always been that way – but what exactly does that mean? "Always" means the year 767 in this case B.C., to which the first documented record of a sports bet is dated. Sports betting of course goes hand in hand with sporting events, which at that time were the Olympic Games already taking place, having their origin much earlier in antiquity. So the Ancient Greeks already bet – but how did the sports bet find its way into modern Europe?

Here, as with so many other things, we must pay homage to the British. They not only founded the first betting shops, they were the first to provide professional bookmakers and thus brought the odds to life. Unlike today, however, the horse race was the largest market for sports betting. Nowadays it’s football; now you can bet your money on almost every (semi-)professional league in the world.

Football was also the spark that really ignited the betting fire in Germany: with the introduction of the Bavarian football pools in 1948, things really got going in Germany, too. Gradually more and more private betting offices followed this state provider – at the latest with the introduction of telephone betting – which made physical presence in betting offices superfluous – the private providers wrestled the status from the state monopoly throughout Germany. By the way: Many of the English bookmakers who were founded at the end of the 19th century still exist today: "Ladbrokes", for example, is one of the oldest and best-known bookmakers in the world.

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Did you know that some celebrities also have a passion for gambling? If you want to know who has played with the fire from time to time, take a look at our blogpost.