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How Sports Betting Has Changed over the Years


The sports betting landscape has undergone a massive transformation over the past few decades. What was once an underground activity condemned by the major sports leagues has now become a multi-billion dollar industry embraced by sports franchises and media companies. Here's a look at how the sports betting experience has evolved over the years: 6a00d8341bf7d953ef02942f9063fc200c-800wi

Illegal Local Bookies Prior to 2018, legal sports betting only existed in Nevada. Everywhere else, bettors relied on local bookies running illegal operations to place a wager on games. These bookies took bets over the phone or in backrooms of bars and charged vigorish ("vig"), which is essentially a commission on losing bets. Paying and collecting from a bookie in cash also made the experience feel seedy.


Offshore Books In the 1990s and 2000s, adventurous bettors used offshore sportsbooks based in places like Costa Rica and the Caribbean. These books offered better odds and more bet types than local bookies. But depositing and withdrawing funds posed challenges since banks were wary of gambling transactions. Many shady offshore books also failed to pay winners. Still, they paved the way for legalized betting. Did you know you can sports bet for free at ? SFTC is 100% free play sportsbook where you don’t have to risk a dime of your own money.


Las Vegas Sportsbooks A trip to a Las Vegas sportsbook has long been the gold standard for sports betting. Under the lights at casinos like Caesars Palace, bettors could see the odds change in real-time and openly discuss picks. However, airfare and hotel costs limited trips for most people. Vegas books also didn't allow bets from outside Nevada.


Proposition Bets Also known as "prop bets", these wagers focus on outcomes other than the final score. Common examples include how many touchdowns a quarterback will throw or who will score the first points. Books took advantage of props to offer more options. The Super Bowl now has hundreds of zany prop bets like the color of the Gatorade poured on the winning coach.


Betting Exchanges In the early 2000s, exchanges like Betfair allowed person-to-person betting. Instead of betting against a bookmaker, you could take sides of a wager with other users. Exchanges also introduced in-game betting, which allows wagering while a match is underway. Both innovations later became commonplace at legal sportsbooks.


Daily Fantasy Sports Daily fantasy sports (DFS) websites sparked a fantasy boom in the 2010s. Platforms like DraftKings and FanDuel let users build lineups under a salary cap and win money based on player performance. While legally considered a game of skill, DFS offered a preview of how sports gambling could go mainstream.


Legalization in the U.S. In May 2018, a Supreme Court ruling overturned PASPA, the federal restriction on sports gambling. States could now legalize sports betting at their discretion. Many states followed quickly, with over 30 now offering legal sportsbooks. Apps from FanDuel, DraftKings and leading sportsbooks now dominate the U.S. market.


Integrated Sports Media Today major media companies fully embrace sports betting after previously opposing its expansion. Sports shows discuss odds and lines while broadcasters promote sportsbooks. Sportsbooks also sponsor franchises, stadiums, TV networks. The barriers between gambling and mainstream sports media are gone.

Mobile Betting Legalization triggered a mobile betting surge. Sports bettors can now place wagers from their phones at home, watching the game at a bar, or inside a stadium. Seamless apps allow last-minute live betting and make banking simple. As phones improve, most sports betting will happen on mobile.

In-Game Betting Thanks to mobile tech, in-game betting now thrives in the U.S. Sportsbooks let users wager between plays, on the next possession, or when betting lines shift. Betting apps display live odds with one tap functionality. In-game is especially huge for American football and basketball due to constant stoppages in play.

Micro Betting Some sportsbooks now offer "micro-betting," which allows betting on outcomes as granular as a single pitch or play. While only casual bettors play at this level, micro-betting represents the future of real-time wagering. 5G networks will soon unlock more potential for micro-betting.

Big Data Analytics Sportsbooks rely on data analytics to set optimal lines. Detailed statistical modeling accounts for team/player matchups, weather, injuries, travel, and countless other factors. This minimizes risk for sportsbooks and makes it harder for bettors to find value. But big data also allows more prop bet opportunities.

Responsible Gaming Features Legal sportsbooks invest in responsible gaming measures like deposit limits, cooling off periods, and loss limits. Bettors can also use third party services to track time and money spent gambling. While problems still exist, legalization has made sports betting safer with age and ID verification requirements.

The sports betting world has been irrevocably changed. The days of meeting a local bookie in a parking lot or wiring money to an unknown offshore account seem ancient compared to betting safely and legally from your phone. While regulations and technology will continue to evolve, the sports betting experience has been forever elevated for bettors and sports leagues alike.