Sports Betting Today and Yesterday

Sports betting is the fastest-growing segment of gaming in the US and the world. Total sports betting reached in 2019 US$ 69 billion with the state of Nevada taking a share of US $ 2.5 billion. The proportion of Americans betting on sports have risen from about 5% in the 1950s to 20% today.

Sports betting while originating at the dawn of time in the United States made a formal entry in the 1800s through horse racing. This sport rose in fame and fortune up and until WWI.  In the early days of horse racing bookmakers developed what is known as ‘auction pools. This involved auctioning off bets for each horse in a race. The arrangement rapidly ran out of favor among bettors when the horse that they wanted to wager on was already taken. Bookies soon understood that setting odds on individual horses would increase betting carry and, in turn, their hold. Favorite horses would attract a lot of betting money, thus by lowering the winning odds to favorites the attractiveness of other horses in the race would increase. 

As horse racing lost attractiveness baseball began to rise in the public’s affection. And with it opportunities to gamble on the outcome of matches and the World Series. 

Baseball ‘pool cards’ became means to bet on this sport Comparable to present-day parlay cards, pool cards presented wagerers with many baseball betting options.  The odds in these cards however were badly tilted in the houses’ favor. No bettor could make a profit over an extended period of time. 

The 1920s were the Sports Golden Era. These were the days football and basketball began their rise. By the 1940s sports betting was surpassing lottery sales. Growth however stalled when bookies realized that they could lose a lot of money should many of their clients enjoy big winnings or a big underdog hit a big win. Thus, whenever a particular contest seemed to be extremely lopsided, the bookie would refrain from taking any bets in order to minimize his risk. This problem was solved with the adoption of the point spread system which created windfall profits to bookies.  

The  point spread system created a windfall for bookies because they could now even out the betting handle on each side of a game by making a point spread that reflected the difference in points between two teams in a game. This virtually guaranteed a profit for the bookies in addition to giving them the option of offering many more games to their customers.

In he 1950s Parlay cards fostered the trade. In the first decade of operations Parlay cards gave sports betting a boost that represented a 15% growth in the trade. Parlay Cards were fundamental in bringing to age a group of truly brilliant sports bettors that today are recognized as the point people for the development of this gambling space. 

Teddy “Covers” Sevransky

Teddy Sevranksy is a legendary football bettor. Holds a 70% win record on all NFL bets from 2001 to now. Sevranksy’s betting focuses on over/under wagers. During the 2018 season he finished with an over 60%-win ratio. He is regularly invited as a commentator to NFL sports betting TV programs.

James Holzhauer

This wagerer is a math-based phenomenon.  Holzhauer uses his skills as a mathematician to create his bets. James was three years ahead of the rest of his class when he was 7 years old studying fifth-grade math. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics.

William Sean Creighton

Known as the Parlay Master in his early youth Sean developed an uncanny talent to instantly graph odds and winning probabilities for sports team. He also excelled at identifying and exploiting discrepancies in betting boards. He created algorithms based on these discrepancies that furnished him with great wins  in his Parlay site of Morgantown, West Virginia. 

Ashton Kutcher

Kutcher not only is a successful, bettor but also an entrepreneur.  He invested in the eSports company Unikrn in 2015. He is thus betting at explosive growth of eSports in the near future. In 2017, MGM Resorts International in Las Vegas partnered with Unikrn to allow the company to host eSports events with them. This will only help the company to gain a wider audience and potential revenue. Currently, Kutcher has a net worth of $200 million.

Ben “Parlay Patz” 

Patz is the youngest and most successful bettor in modern times. He was born in 1996 and began wagering on sporting events as soon as legally possible. Once he became eighteen, he joined an offshore sportsbook and started placing bets on games. Due to his enormous success with parlay betting, his buddies gave him the nickname “Parlay Patz.” His first legal wager was on a Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fight for $90.

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