Betting records dating back over 3000 years have been discovered in China, with the first recorded bet dating from 2300 BC.
Animals, as well as any valuable thing, were wagered at the period, both in games of chance and in races or athletic events.
The majority of money wagering in ancient times, as it is today, was closely related to sports:
- race of all kinds;
- chariot race;
- horse racing;
- gladiatorial battles.
It was passed down from the Greeks to the Romans, who relished betting on gladiator fights. Sports betting was first legalized by the Romans. Gambling has continued to grow around the world since then.
Sports bets were accepted before and during the competitions, which were staged in an amphitheater. It’s worth noting that there were no odds at the time, thus the bet’s profit was determined by how many individuals and how much money was staked on the correct and opposite outcomes. It was the Colosseum in Rome where most bets were made in Antiquity with gladiator games; in fact, it was the Romans who introduced gambling to Spain in the year 218 BC.
There are additional allusions in the Middle Ages to arrow and bow competitions, albeit these were more frequent among the nobles, with dice games being more common among the poorer classes.
Bets, are made between members of the same social group, such as farmers or aristocrats. The prize games, on the other hand, take place during parish celebrations and depict various regional customs, such as the struggle in Brittany or the jump in Provence. Prize games are held among the nobles on rare occasions (birth or wedding). These games were meant to be entertaining.
Sports betting has seen its legal ups and downs. Many religious leaders passed laws against it during the Middle Ages. People, on the other hand, would bet on sports secretly.
The first gambling bans were enacted by the Kings of France and England in the twelfth century. It was restricted on who could gamble, moreover the amount of the bet was also limited. If someone violated the law, he get lashed and have to pay the church a fine.
Regardless of whether sports betting was legal or not in a given country, you could continue to gamble in pubs or private houses.