The history of football betting

History of football betting

Football is one of the most popular sports all over the world. Millions either tune in to their television sets to watch football or go to stadiums regularly to watch it. Due to this much popularity, it is hard to believe that people didn’t derive fun from it in their own way, too. Betting is something that is people’s way of deriving fun from football apart from the drama of the game itself. Betting alone has given rise to a giant industry which circulates money among a variety of people all across the world.

What is betting?

Betting is putting your money on something that you believe is going to happen in the actual scenario. It’s all about the predictability and the odds. People try to predict the score of games because of the knowledge they possess about the teams and the game. Sometimes, you hit the jackpot and the other times, when you’re unlucky, you go bankrupt. But why do people still do it considering all of the uncertainty? A simple answer would be ‘fun’ and ‘easy money’.


Although there is no solid evidence of the inception of betting in football it is as old as the game itself. However, in the past, if someone had to bet on a certain game, he couldn’t do so in the open because it was illegal at that time. Before the 1960s, betting majorly happened in the streets or in criminal alleys.

Before getting a legal license, Littlewoods introduced betting formally in the 1920s. At that time, weekly football betting pools were the most common form of betting. People would go to those pools and place their bets. However, the outcome was different than the betting that we do these days. Whoever used to predict the scores, he would get the most points. But, it wasn’t risk-free. The bookies of that era had established an image of being gangsters. In case someone lost and was unable to pay his share, he was in trouble.

That uncertain yet flourishing period saw many betting companies come into existence in the UK including the company owned by Moore and his wife and their competitors, Vernons. Subsequently, they made millions from football betting.


It goes without saying that the governments didn’t like the kind of violence betting was bringing to the streets and which was often challenging to handle. Hence, after the 1960s, through the Betting and Gaming Act, football betting was legalized in the UK. People started investing in this business and in no time, betting shops and houses opened up all across the UK.

The betting took a steep turn after that also because of the post-war era. People started spending more money on watching football games mainly because they wanted to divert their attention from the post-war traumas. Further, they started thinking that life is uncertain and it’s better to enjoy it by living in the moment.

In the US, however, it was made legal in the state of Nevada only. But with the rise of this industry, it was hard for people to always go to Vegas and bet on football matches. To avoid spending money on traveling, people resorted to the neighborhood bookies. The police tried tracking them down but it always gave rise to more betting.

The Internet Era of Football Betting

After the introduction of the world wide web in the early 1990s, it gave a secure passage to all the bookmakers around the world to organize betting on football. It was fast, anonymous and more fun. Bookies from all over the world started placing their bets on the internet and it kick-started pretty well.

The most prominent part in the late twentieth century with regard to football betting is when the Skysports acquired the rights to air the premier league, one of the most popular football leagues in the world, in 1992. It started airing more matches in a week rather than airing only one or two matches. This brought in the interest of the general public, too. People started watching more games which gave them the idea that they can now bet with more confidence because of staying up to date about the scores and the teams’ progress.

In conventional betting, one had to place his bets before a match and pray for his luck. The launching of web platforms like Bet365 and Betfair have introduced the concept of betting during the game. It enables people to place their bets while the game is still on. This gives an edge to the bettor to place his bets on a player, a goal or anything judging by the flow of the game.

Now it’s time for platforms to help enhance your football betting experience. One of the best ones in the industry is BetBallers. An ultimate football statistics database, providing all the soccer stats you can ever think of. For instance, live scores, pre-game odds dropping, corners stats and all the other football statistical numbers like likelihood (scanner), variance (bookmaker error).

Does Football Betting Affect Sports?

It does. Betting has had its share of long draught but now it has made it into the real and legal football world. It is more convenient and fun. Many booking companies have started sponsoring some major clubs, starting from the Fulham in the Premier League, and is becoming more popular every passing day. But it isn’t just betting that benefitted from the sport of football. Betting also returned the favour by pulling up more audience all over the world. Thus, raising the ratings of the channels to a greater extent. This eventually generates a lot of money and hence keeps this cycle up and running.

Apart from having a positive impact on football, betting has also given rise to controversies like match-fixing and the fixing of draws. Keeping this in mind, it can’t be said with surety whether the governments will ban it someday or not. But one thing is for sure, it is benefitting both the sport of football and the gambling industry. So a ban of some sort will prove to be a setback for this significant industry. Positive betting must be encouraged and people must be made aware of the consequences of bad practices. Only then can we stop letting the betting industry negatively affect the sport of football.

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