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The History of Online Sports Betting and Sportsbooks

Aug 17, 2007
It is very common for sports fans to feel as if they want to be a more intrinsic part of the action than simply spectating. Although, for the vast majority of people, dreams of actually playing your sport of choice to a professional level are sadly unrealistic, this desire to 'take part' has been a major reason why sport betting has become so popular.

It is now possible to place bets on almost any sport imaginable. The process is very simple indeed; all a prospective gambler needs to do is contact a sports book (an individual or organisation who takes bets on sport) and see whether they are taking bets for your chosen event. If they are, they will tell you what odds they are offering for the bet that you want to make. For example, if you wanted to bet that Papua New Guinea were going to win the highest number of medals at the forthcoming Olympics, you would be given very good odds; that is, for each dollar or pound you bet, you would stand to make considerably more than one dollar or pound if your gamble paid off.

As sport betting has become more popular, the number of methods for gambling has increased. Online betting has been incredibly successful, with many billions of dollars being gambled every year. This is, in part, as a result of many sportsbooks' exploitation of less stringent, foreign gambling laws. Online gambling has also been a bonus for bettors, as the comparative lack of restriction on foreign sports books often means that better odds are available on the internet than in your local betting shop. If you are considering online betting, though, you should ensure that you are using a reputable company, as scams are still a very real problem.

So what makes a good sportsbook? Sport betting had very humble beginnings. Bookmakers were often just individuals out to make some extra cash, particularly in the heady days before gambling regulation. Today, however, the number of sports books available is enormous and growing rapidly. One need only look around town to see the huge choice available to the prospective gambler, and it can often be difficult to differentiate between them.

Of course, one of the main considerations when choosing a sports book, once you have established that they are taking bets on your chosen event, is the odds that they are offering. Until the early 60s, there were only a very small number of bookmakers providing odds to the sportsbooks. This meant that odds and prices were fairly uniform, but the growth recent in the number of oddsmakers has meant that gamblers may now be presented with a fairly wide range of odds.

Another great area of growth is online betting. Odds online are often better, as companies can base themselves in countries where gambling restrictions are not so tight. When choosing an online sports book, there are more possible considerations. Often, it is possible to place far more eccentric, exotic bets online, simply due to the sheer scale of some of these operations. Another likely factor to consider is payment methods; most online sports books now take payments from, and pay winnings directly to, your credit card, ensuring ease of use. UK online betting companies are massive, with some of them employing over 15,000 people to run their operations.

Although online sport betting presents major benefits, it also poses some risks. You should always be careful when giving your bank details online; ensure that the web site is encrypted, and only ever use online sports books who have been accredited by a reputable online gambling consortium.
About the Author
Sam Wolfe has over 10 years experience betting with and consulting for online sportsbooks. Find out full details about UK Sports betting operations at http://www.wagered.co.uk.
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