Home Page Image



Telephone Reservations




Course Conditions

Course Delays: No  Delays

Green Speed: 9.5
Practice Facilities:


To check your Signature Gift Card Balance CLICK HERE


Sports Betting History – From Ancient Greece to Modern Times

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few thousand years, you might be aware of the fact the people love placing bets. This sometimes means slots and cards, but where people everywhere have been placing their bets for thousands of years is sports betting. 
Bear in mind, the idea of sport has changed significantly over time. However, the fact remains that the thrill of having a stake in the event and the unknowable possibilities offer not only huge potential profits but also a feeling that can be enormously addictive.
So, where did sports betting start and how did it evolve? We must first go all the way to the ancient Greeks and the beginnings of one of the most well-known sporting events in the world – The Olympic Games.

Betting in the Bronze Age

Olympic games symbol
The Olympic Games as we know it began in 1896. However, the ancient Olympics were started by the Greeks toward the end of the Bronze Age, sometime around 800-700 BC.
There is archaeological evidence that wagering occurred during some of the ancient Olympic Games events, and this is believed to be the earliest record of sports betting. Once the popularity was obvious, the idea spread like wildfire across countries and time. While there are differing opinions about the legality of gambling during this time, the Romans did eventually legalize it in some form, and there are records of gambling in gladiator events. Even though gladiator battles were outlawed and continue to be, they offered some of the most exciting spectator events in history.

Religion and Law – the Gambling Deterrent During a Dark Age

The Dark Age was so named partly because of a general decline in economic, intellectual, and cultural progress following the demise of the Roman Empire. It is also partly named the Dark Age because of a general lack of record keeping. This happened either by extension of a decline in civilization or because of destruction due to wars, which occurred far more regularly than in future ages.
However, there is general agreement among historians that gambling was frowned upon during the Dark Ages. The spread of religion, specifically Christianity, and superstition cast a cloud of the outcomes from wagering. Even though the negative perspective is regularly mentioned, this did not stop people from betting.
There was a huge wealth gap during this time, and betting was a difficult prospect for poor people, so it was usually a pastime for wealthier individuals. It was also against the law during certain regimes – King Richard I banned gambling to anyone below the rank of knight.

Slow Progress for Fast Races in the UK

UK sports betting is one of the hottest markets in the industry in 2021. With many betting sites and apps offering bonuses and free bets UK has become one of the best places to be for betting fans. However, this was not always the case. The rise of organized sports in the 18th century, including wrestling, footraces, and horse racing, made these popular focuses for those interested in betting. Gambling in England was, however, illegal for most of this time. During the 19th and 20th centuries (the 1800s to 1900s), sports betting was still illegal, but team sports rose in popularity.
Horse racing was a particular favourite of gamblers in the UK. With the introduction of train systems and advances in transportation technology, there came more races with higher prize purses and more spectators. The industry grew, and with it grew the attraction of betting houses. There were about 150 betting houses that brought together betters from the working classes of the 1950s.
The betting houses were outlawed, but it wasn’t until the Street Betting Act of 1906 that betting was finally legalized, though in a regulated form requiring smaller bets. Then, finally, the Betting and Gaming Act of 1960 was passed. This law legalized off-course betting and paved the way for the growth of the sports betting industry in the UK.

Sports Betting in the US – A Choppy History

Horse racing is certainly a favourite of gamblers in the UK, though it is also had a huge following in the US. After all, the Kentucky Derby, the first of which was held in 1873, is well-known as one of the most prestigious horse races in the world.
Sports betting experienced a big setback in the early 20th century when news of the Black Sox Scandal came out. In 1919, the Chicago Black Sox lost the World Series, despite being the obvious favourite against the Cincinnati Reds. It later came out that each of the players was bribed with $10,000 each, about $150,000 apiece in today’s money, to intentionally throw the game.
After this, Major League Baseball cracked down on sports betting, though the state and federal lawmakers also had a say in suppressing the practice to keep such an upset from being allowed.
Nevada – America’s playground – is well-known for allowing all sorts of gambling, and it has its own colourful history. The State of Nevada legalized sports betting in 1949, though gambling of most other forms had been legal for 15 years before that.
Various legislative reforms through the 50s and 60s kept sports betting at bay in order to deal blows to organized crime, which had grown to control most of the sports betting during this time. Crime rings were famous for having fixed numerous events where the odds were astronomical, and the payoff was equally so.
After decades of attempting to rid the country of crime-controlled sports betting, the 70s and 80s saw the federal government slack off in its campaign and gambling prospered. Then gambling was smashed again by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, which banned states from legalizing sports betting.
Through most of the 1990s and 2000s, PASPA was used in several court rulings, though it was finally struck down as of December 2018. Sports betting is currently legal in several US states, including Nevada.


There is far more to delve into regarding the history of sports betting. The stories span across millennia, and there could be numerous books written on the legal battles throughout the centuries. Sports betting has been with us for thousands of years and is not likely to go anywhere anytime soon. Whether legal or illegal, people will love placing bets on their favourite sports.
© 2008, The Signature at West Neck