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The history of betting on sports explained

Nowadays, there are many people who fire up their betting app at soccer matches to bet on a particular match and its outcome. Some people even manage to make good money from it! Wondering where this phenomenon comes from? We explain the history of betting on sports.

Origin of the first bets

According to history expert, the first bets were already made in the ancient Greek city-states. That means that these bets are at least 2,000 years old. It was here that the first evidence of betting among themselves was found. Later evidence was also found for Romans betting money on battles between gladiators. How the betting went then has many similarities to how it goes in today's betting world: a wager was agreed upon and then men chose a side in the gladiatorial fight that they thought would win. When this happened, one got his own wager back including the profit made.


Scientists have found evidence through murals that betting also took place centuries ago. Back then, however, people did not bet with money, but with bones from dogs or sheep. The oldest bones found are even estimated to be around 14,000 years old.

Development of sports betting (and its legalization)

Later, betting on sports became increasingly popular. But various governments tried to stop it, because betting on sports would not be suitable for people to be able and allowed to do legally. After a few unsuccessful attempts by governments to combat sports betting, it remained so popular that legalization was necessary. Soon hot Dutch TOTO came on the market, where one could bet mainly on soccer matches. Starting in the 1980s, Toto faced a lot of competition from other companies, such as Lotto.

Horse races and the betting

Today, betting on horses is a popular online sport, but this sport goes back hundreds of years. Back then, however, betting on horse racing had a different character and was really only available to the elite. Nowadays, betting on horse racing (and all other types of betting) is available to a wide audience and you can do it online. Even on virtual horse races!

Lottery Law

From the beginning of Toto, authorities were keenly on top of this. The higher the amounts became, the more politicians felt the need to intervene. Although the Ministry of Justice actually wanted to ban the tote, a change in the lottery law made it possible to maintain the tote (in a legal way).

Online betting

When online betting suddenly entered the world of sports betting, a lot changed. The Internet allows you to bet your money in many different ways, on many different sports. You can also play your favorite casino games in an online casino from the comfort of your living room. For example, you can play poker digitally against other people, play a game of blackjack or look online for the best casino bonus for your favorite casino.

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