History of illegal gambling in sports

The USA has a long history of illegal gambling in sports. Gambling scandals and political control have led to the prohibition and regulation of sports gambling in the USA. Laws that connected with sports gambling and other standards have been changing and these changes have been described as “Waves”. The first of such waves was during the Colonial Period that lasted till the 1800s. The next wave came about following the US Civil war up until the early 20th century. The third of such waves started during the Great Depression till date.

Sports gambling has always been illegal in America. Puritan attitudes while in the Colonial era were adopted towards sports and also other gambling, possession of cards, gaming tables, dice etc. Later on it was only allowed if it was not a trade but only innocent recreation. Early settlers had the view that gambling was only a harmless past time. Gambling was likened to the frontier spirit as both of them involved opportunism, risk taking and high expectations.

Illegal sports betting has always been associated with mobsters and organized crime in the US. Illegal sports gambling became a huge business for gang mobsters while in the 1920s and 1930s. Organized bookmaking systems were put in place by organized crime throughout the nation. Horse racing betting shot to popularity during this period.

In 1931 Nevada legalized casino gambling and here too organized crime took control of all the casino betting business. Mobsters operated illegal nationwide wire services Trans America Wire and Continental Wire Service. Mobsters such as infamous Al Capone put in place their own wire services to stop gamblers from taking any benefit from delays by making sure they posted winning wagers before official results were out.

The Federal Government of the US cracked down on mobsters and organized crime over the 1950s and forced them outside the Nevada Casino gambling industry. But this would not deter the organized crime mobsters who took over illegal bookmaking. Law Enforcement authorities do acknowledge that independent bookies are functioning within the nation yet it is evident that organized crime still controls all the big bucks in betting.

Animal fights also have a long history in the US in spite of the not so good reputation it has. Most animal fights include dog fights and cock fights which are today favored by street gangs and large amounts of weapons and money are usually present at the time of these fights.

History of illegal gambling in sports uncovers that cockfighting was illegal and banned by nearly all states in the US over the 1800s. It is still illegal currently in 48 states. The law in Minnesota makes any king of gambling bet Illegal. Thus any type of card game where you’ve got to pay to participate in a game and have possibilities to win money is a “bet” and therefore also thought to be illegal gambling. It is important to keep in mind that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 only refers to the funding of internet gambling not the specific act of betting.