The Beginnings Of Bookmaking

Kris Kyulyunkov
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history of bookmaker websites
Content Navigation
  1. History of Bookmakers
  2. Online Betting Websites
  3. Gambling Legal
  4. The Oldest Bookie
  5. History of Sports Betting
  6. The Evolution of Bookmakers

When you think about where bookmaking started, your mind automatically takes you to the UK. The UK contains countless betting shops and, hence, many interested punters. You can read all about how it started here. We also recommend some of the best online sportsbooks that you can play today.

A bookmaker, by definition, is the person or company laying the odds and creating a book. The book you see is a derivative of all possible outcomes and hence ‘bookmaker’. The bookmaker offers odds for you and punters around the globe for several possible outcomes to bet on.


History Of Bookmaking

Gambling itself is an ancient form of entertainment. You wouldn’t have seen odds like you do today on bookies though, most betting was on one of two possible outcomes.

Gambling at racing tracks in the UK was only permitted after the Gambling Act of 1845. Punters from all over the UK could flock to various racecourses and enjoy sporting events. Physical betting shops were given the go-ahead in 1961.

The industry continued and continues to grow. You can bet at any one of the UK’s 15,000 betting shops.


The Era Of Online Bookies

You didn’t really see bookmakers online before the 2000s. It wasn’t until the birth of the internet and the popularity of online gambling that bookies started to enter the online scene. But hosting the service on an online domain can be costly.

If you’re looking to access an online sportsbook, then it must be legal in your country of residence, and you must be older than 18. You can play the best casino games available, given that sportsbooks have joined forces with huge names in the iGaming industry.


As mentioned previously, you need to be over the age of 18 to play online in the UK. Decades ago, the biggest problem was that no regulation was in place for online gambling. This lead to an increasing number of gambling laws prohibiting all different varieties.

You’ll probably be aware that this has since changed, the most historic ruling being the one to legalise betting shops. The industry boomed under the 1960 Betting and Gaming Act. Following this, and over the coming decades, the bans and legislation surrounding online gambling slowly lifted.

Increasing and constant pressure from bookies saw another law change in 2002. Online bookies no longer required you to pay tax on individual wagers. The government decided instead that it would tax sportsbooks on yearly profits.

The creation of the UK Gambling Commission was the next to be introduced in 2005. These authorities ensure that the gambling environment is safe, secure and strictly adheres to the country’s laws and regulations.

You’ll also see that many online sportsbooks have committed to providing a safe environment and promoting gambling responsibly. Services to help you with any troubling gambling problems are available via clickable links. Customer services staff at bookies are adequately trained.


The Oldest Bookmaker

The first-ever bookmaker in the UK is Harry Ogden’s bookie, originating in the 1790s. Many similar gambling activities soon followed in the nineteenth century. Harry was the first recorded, though, and this was set up just as the ever-popular sport of horse racing was taking off.

Ogden had a pitch on Newmarket Heath, near the UK’s oldest and most famous racecourse back then. You could see the course and racing from his shop, which funnily enough could have presented an old school live betting opportunity. Harry didn’t price each horse the same value as he realised that some would have better chances at winning than others.

You would see different prices offered across the event, so you had a choice. Here was where tactical betting was born. You could back a clear favourite, but risk a low profit or back an underdog and stand to gain a higher profit.

Another thing Harry did, which was soon to be the standard for betting shops, built a profit margin into the book. The odds wouldn’t be a true reflection of the probability of outcomes if you tried to balance them.


A Brief History On Sports Betting

The beginnings of sports betting in the UK started with horse racing. You can read up about the first-ever recorded events as far back as the 1500s. The Ascot Racecourse started in the 1700s. Britain’s love of horse racing is still very instilled in betting today.

What Is An Exchange?

You can place arbitrage bets on a betting exchanges, they’re like an online bookie. However, the difference is that you can place both a back and a lay bet with different punters. When doing so, you cut out the sportsbook’s usual profit margin by using an exchange.

You still have to pay something towards the betting exchange, however. A small commission fee is applicable for the services and platform provided.

You’ll see, though, that the exchange still competes with the bookies. Better odds are offered to you on an exchange, and you can play arbitrage bets as well. You can set your own odds too, after assessing the market on an exchange.


How Have Bookmakers Evolved?

While you will still see some bookmakers maintain a traditional ‘brick and mortar’ casino, many others have changed drastically over the years. The introduction of online sports betting provides punters with a massive amount of opportunities on the daily.

You can now enjoy additional features like placing in-play, live bets and utilising a live streaming service, all from the comfort of your home. The creation of virtual sports and daily fantasy sports have also come from online bookies.

Gambling products have a rather high conversion rate. This is why you’ll see that most sportsbooks also offer its punters a casino section. You can play slots, traditional card casino games, live casino and more.

As technology has advanced, the online gambling world has kept pace. You can access your favourite bookies in the palm of your hand through practically any device. You’ll have access to all online sportsbooks, given that they have since developed apps and mobile-compatible sites for your enjoyment.

It makes no difference if you’re an Apple or Android user. You can access many online bookies on either operating system and play to your heart’s content. You’re able to place bets via phone, text, email or online.

Overall, you’ll find that the evolution of online gambling and loosening of relevant legislation has made for a safer gambling environment. Punters no longer seek out illegal betting shops and opportunities and bookies can operate freely.

You can expect decent prices and quick payout thanks to the massive competition between the high street and online bookmakers.

Welcome Bonuses, Free Bets And More

As you can imagine, the presence of hundreds of online bookies has sparked some fierce competition between them. Bonuses and promotions are used to keep punters interested and returning. You’ll have a selection of specials to benefit from when you sign-up online.

The welcome bonus can be seen as a guarantee at any decent online sportsbook. You’ll find that it’s standard to offer a matched bonus of 100% or more. When you place a deposit via the bookie’s cashier, you’ll gain a bonus of the same value – up to a limited amount.

You wouldn’t get benefits like this from traditional brick and mortar casinos. That’s not all there is though; other monthly or even weekly promotions are the norms at online bookies. You can even claim sportsbook or casino specific promos to boost your bankroll.

Another popular promotion is a free spins offer. You can collect free spins valid for a selection of casino games after you make a minimum deposit. You might be familiar with free bet bonuses, seen across many online sportsbooks.

Today, you can also play jackpots and lotteries on internet-based sportsbooks. Betting doesn’t have to be limited to sports either. Punters bet on politics, celebrity news and other exciting gambling markets.

Markets Galore

Not only do you have access to hundreds of markets over every sport you can think of, but there’s also still more. You can bet on over 40 sports on some big bookies and enjoy a variety of markets for each. The live betting that you see on popular sportsbooks also provides unique and exciting markets.

Your choice has never been more plentiful or more difficult! Consider reading up on reviews for your top few sportsbooks to choose. You must take into consideration the availability of things like diverse markets, welcome bonuses and promos and the overall accessibility of a site.

Paying Has Never Been Easier

Unlike a traditional casino, you can play with almost any currency online. You can play without converting anything, so long as the country in which you reside is allowed to access an online bookie. Another exciting change is the acceptance of many payment methods, including cryptocurrency.

You can have an account with your local bank, an e-wallet service, PayPal; you name it. Few online bookies are restricted in payment options.

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