It’s not that sport book betting has never existed before, because the phenomenon of sportsbooks has existed for a long time. They have allowed betting on sports probably since sometime in the late nineteenth century. So it was inevitable that the phenomenon would be translated to an internet context, as this new medium gained in popularity and sophistication. But this means that governments, who wrestled to create laws that covered this type of betting, now have to recreate them to deal with online betting.
Sportsbooks began as literal books, or ledgers, where people’s bets were written down. When sport betting grew as an organized industry, the term continued to be used, and gave rise to words like “bookmaker” and “bookie.” Thus, “sportsbooks” now encompass the odds set for an event by the bookmaker, the official organization that establishes those odds, and the location where the bets are placed. Before internet betting came into the picture, the sportsbook organizations were tied to physical locations, mostly in Nevada casinos because such organizations weren’t legal elsewhere. But of course the internet has changed all that.
Now you can engage in online betting through sportsbook organizations anywhere in the world. They now allow people to bet not just on sports events in their own country but in other countries as well. These organizations tend to be officially registered in jurisdictions that have favorable tax and regulatory regimes. In theory, because they have less overhead and can handle more customers, they pass cost savings on to those customers. But the very fact that they take advantage of loose regulations means that these offshore sportsbooks can also potentially defraud customers, who have little recourse. It may take some bad experiences to learn which sites are actually reliable.
An extra complication that Americans have to deal with if they do any online betting is their own government’s attempts to prevent them from doing so. Thus far, the gambling laws passed by the government mainly target the banks; forbidding them to allow any funds to flow between them and any type of online gambling sites. But since citizens continue to find ways to play on the sites anyway, it’s likely that the government will revise those laws to legalize and regulate the industry instead.
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