Why was America so late to the world on online sports betting?

You are currently viewing Why was America so late to the world on online sports betting?
online sportsbooks legal in the US

While in the here and now we want to know what are the best USA betting sites, it is useful to go over some history. There are many extensive articles written on this topic, here is a good collection of the history.  It is a long story along the following lines-

  • Moral outrage at the turn of 19th century at a sports team betting scandal (the Black Sox scandal)
  • Prohibition and moralistic outrage driving gambling underground
  • Organized crime/mafia taking advantage of this gap in the market created by poor regulation and moralistic attitudes
  • Decades of fighting against the role of organized crime
  • Decades of political in-fighting and debate about how to fix the problem
  • No federal initiative eventually left up to the States themselves
  • More progressive states (e.g. New Jersey) realize that they are 20 years behind the rest of the developed world. More importantly, they are also losing out on an obvious source of tax income-they legislated to allow online gambling
  • The rest start to follow and now 18 states have legalized online gambling with many more to follow
  • Online gambling growth in the USA expects a decade-long boom as it catches up with the rest of the world.
  • Eventually the best USA betting sites will be as good as anything in the world

Prohibition and lessons for sports betting

As a non-American, it is somewhat bemusing to read the above. It seems that the USA learnt nothing from the prohibition of alcohol 100 odd years ago. It still struggles with moralistic and cultural reservations (evident in some states still) when it comes to sports betting. This despite the fact that it is clear that 80% of Americans actually want to participate to some degree.  Ironically, this has happened in a country which is the proud owner of the gambling capital of the world-Las Vegas.

Best USA betting sites

There is no doubt the USA has the potential to produce the best prediction sites. Despite the barriers created by previous restrictions, this is a country where when it embraces something, the sky is the limit. It is also a sports-mad country. It is clear that many start-ups throughout the industry are starting to rely more on homegrown talent than purely importing international expertise, as in the early days. This is a necessary step to producing the best USA betting sites, as only local people truly understand the delicate taste of American sports fans.


This topic speaks to a far more serious issue as to what shapes American opinions and policies. This is one of the most ethnically diverse countries of the world. A book would be needed to properly explore such issues. However, it is clear that for at least the last few decades, these divisions resulted in America falling behind the sports betting world, especially in the online space. If one considers that in other spheres, America leads the world in many technologies, it must seem strange that they must now take a back seat to especially European Sportsbooks who are behind the dominant forces in the marketplace. However, there is nothing wrong with learning and undoubtedly the future will see American Companies come to dominate this space. Their peers have done so in other industries. It should take maybe 10-20 years though…..or maybe less judging by the enthusiasm that a long-waiting public has shown so far. Indeed, it might not be that long at all before the best USA betting sites rival anything in the rest of the world.