History of formation of the first bookmakers

History of formation of the first bookmakers

All the best gambling entertainment that we have today, or at least the first, simpler analogues were invented long before the concepts of "bettor", "favorite", "upstreak", etc. The Gambling King team will tell the reader about the first bookmakers that laid the Foundation for the currently existing major brands.

The first mention of an organized bookmaking

horse race

In 1512, the first official horse race was held in Great Britain. Back then, betting was also popular, but only in a friendly competitive environment. In a more organized format that includes a financial component, bookmaking began its journey in the 19th century.

Bookmaking owes its development in most cases to racetracks. According to the gambling act of 1845, the only available gambling game was betting on horse racing. On special excursion trains, people came to the racetracks, hoping to earn money or just watch a sports event.

By the way, the SRO "Association of bookmakers" held a meeting because of the threat to the operation of betting points.

A wave of excitement swept over the local population and became the reason that in 1739 the authorities created and passed a law on gambling, which included measures aimed at keeping part of the population from participating in bets. As a result, only representatives of the rich population received the right to do so. In 1766, a notable person, Richard Tattersall, began holding auctions of thoroughbred horses in his coffee shop, and bids were also made there.
In the 18th century, the largest racetrack was the Jockey Club, created by Richard Tattersall, who made a revolutionary breakthrough not only in equestrian sports, but also in betting. At that time, certain standards were already in effect, according to which visitors placed bets. 

They gained wider popularity when it was decided to expand them to other events:

  • dog race;
  • cock fight;
  • endurance races and time trials;
  • different pub games;
  • boxing;
  • walking races;
  • coin tosses.

The introduction of the coefficients

introduction of the coefficients

The ancestor of modern bookmaking in a more complete sense of the term is considered to be Harry Ogden. In the 18th century, in the town of Newmarket Heath, it was this man who came up with the idea of introducing fixed odds on all horses in specific races. Many of the rules formulated by Harry still apply today. For example, painting coefficients in the form of fractions or over-round-percentages, which are the norm of profitability of the bookmaker. Before it, bets were generally accepted only on one favorite against the field. Ogden, in turn, offered to distribute the odds for each specific horse. When distributing chances and evaluating the probability of success, he took into account the results of horses in previous races.

The first bookmaker

According to some sources, the first full-fledged legal bookmaker was created in 1850 in England by Leviathan Davis and Fred Swindell. At that time, the term "honest bookmaking" was used, and as a method of self-promotion, the now well-known marketing technique of posting ads in public places was used. The founders posted "flyers with chances" for the event all over the city. It is possible that at that time the coefficients created by Harry Ogden were already being used in full force. After about 30 years, the bookmaking experience was transferred to the rest of Europe, as well as to the United States and Russia.

Growing popularity

The founder of the largest company of the same name, William Hill, opened his betting office in 1934. At the time, most bets were banned in England, but he took advantage of a loophole in the law regarding "bets on credit". The main success he gained thanks to the trust of bettors, as he always fulfilled all the responsibilities for payments. In 1944, he became the first bookmaker to offer fixed bets on football.

In 1901, the British government decided to introduce a tax on rates and began a program to regulate this activity. The number of arrests for illegal betting soared, and in 1906, as a compromise measure and to combat problem gambling, the authorities decided to restrict the interaction of players with bookmakers and introduced special mail boxes through which bettors could carry out transactions.

The conservative government of Harold Macmillan made bookmakers legal under the betting and gambling act of 1960, and measures were taken to ensure that bookmakers themselves were as honest as possible. The first largest offices in the UK at that time were Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral and Paddy Power in Ireland. This period was the beginning of the widespread opening of betting shops throughout the country. By 1970, about 15,000 betting rooms had been opened.

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