Bookmakers: yesterday and today

Bookmakers: yesterday and today

Bookmaking, or sports betting, originally comes from the UK. Football betting was launched in Britain in as early as the nineteenth century. Initially, the betting was unofficial, entered into at stadium stands in the course of the match. In the 1880s, newspapers in the north of England started offering bet-placing contests with prizes for those who successfully guessed the result of the match.

The first official sports betting operator’s office opened only in 1922, set up by John Mores. It was a small office in Liverpool, with the initial capital of 150 pounds sterling. Of John’s two associates, the name of Littlewood was placed on the company’s signboard, its name reading ‘Littlewood Pools of Liverpool’. Initially, their business performed poorly, and it was not before 1926–7 that it started to develop.

Bookmakers initially offered their customers to place bets on results of pairs of matches and paid them prize money for hits scored in line with the prize degrees statute; the stakes were appropriately divided so that the prize money could be covered. William Hill was among the first best-known English bookmakers.

1934 saw football match betting initiated in Sweden. The Swedes were the first to launch a ‘systemic’ betting method, with use of special forms. By mid-twentieth century, sports betting became popular across Europe. In Poland, mutual betting on football started in 1956.

Continuous development of telecommunications and information technologies opened to bookmakers newer and newer betting methods. The first computer-supported betting session was held in 1972, in Canada. Bookmaking operators’ offer has been developing as new methods have developed.

Common access to the internet has primarily contributed to a strengthened position of online bookmakers, Sportingbet included. Among the many operators active these days, Sportingbet is one of the largest Web-based bookmaking businesses, and a leader in the eGaming sector.