Whenever one thinks of betting and its beginnings, one always thinks of the UK with its myriad of betting shops and betting enthusiasts. It has always been a way for people to escape the mundane everyday life, while also having the chance to win some money and watch a match or two on the telly.
However, before the days of online betting, casinos offering free spin bonuses, and betting on virtual matches, betting was considered illegal in the UK and most of the betting shops were run from dark and shady basements, with bookmakers being very careful not to get arrested.
This all changed however, when on May 1st 1961 betting shops became legalized. Tens of thousands betting shops opened in the following years, and the betting industry changed completely. Illegal bookmakers who didn’t have the resources to turn legal had to stop offering their services, and with that the door was open for the large companies like Ladbrokes and William Hill to overtake the business.
This made the gambling experience much safer for the regular betting aficionado and as a result more and more people started flooding in the newly open betting shops. Unfortunately, in the beginning betting shops had to have dark windows and couldn’t advertise themselves openly because of the social stigmas which have long been associated with them.
The betting industry had to wait for 25 years for the legislation to be loosened and for betting shops to be regarded just as any other private establishment. With the change of legislation in 1986 betting shops were allowed to paint their walls in brighter colours, to serve hot and cold drinks and to offer seats and television sets to all those interested to spend their time there.
During that period, four large betting companies – William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral and Mecca – dominated the market. Right from the start they stood by their customers and always tried to provide them with the best conditions possible. One such instance was the abolition of the tax charged on individual wagers, which was 10% of the winnings. After a lot of effort and insistence from the betting companies, the government decided to completely remove this tax in 2002, and instead to tax the bookmakers’ yearly profits.
Related – how do bookmakers determine odds
When betting on the EPL started in the early 90s only people in the UK could bet on football matches and rules weren’t as relaxed as they are today. Betting enthusiasts were obliged to have a minimum of three football matches on their ticket. Seeing how this can be an obstacle for passionate punters, the bookies decided to remove this stipulation and betting on single matches was allowed.
With the rise of the internet and the increase of users of satellite television, betting on the EPL took a whole new dimension and punters from all over the world started passionately following every single minute of every single EPL match. However, together with this rise came a need to make betting on football matches even more sophisticated. People wanted to bet on every aspect of the game and not just on the final scores of matches.
The betting industry duly obliged and started offering a wide variety of new markets. Nowadays live betting on football matches is an option at every bookmaker. Punters can bet on the number of fouls, corners, offsides, goals scored with the left or the right foot and tons of other betting markets, something which was unimaginable more than half a century ago when betting first became legalised.