History of sports betting in some countries around the world

Historians say it is complicated to pinpoint the origins of sports betting. Although sports betting has been popular since ancient Rome and has existed for thousands of years, no one can write an accurate history of the field. However, we can still visualize a complete picture of the world sports betting market through its development in the following countries.

The UK

The UK was one of the first countries to legalize gambling and sports betting. Since the 1960s, the UK has passed a law that legalizes betting on horse racing. Since then, the UK sports betting market has overgrown, accounting for the largest share (38%) of the total revenue of the betting market, equivalent to $730 million per year. The UK is also home to the headquarters of leading betting companies, such as Betfair, Betway app, Bet365, Willam Hill, Paddy Power, etc. UK sports is a dominant market for sports betting globally.


The Government of the Russian Federation strictly controls lottery and sports betting. During the 1970s, the Russians began to prescribe a sports lottery system, the revenue of which was used to build stadiums and sports complexes for the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

Previously, many amusement parks were associated with betting in large Russian cities. After that, Russian President Putin ordered the re-planning of entertainment and betting areas, taking them out of the cities and allowing them to be held only in tourist areas and special economic zones to contribute to attracting tourists and also limiting complex social impacts in densely populated urban areas.


Publicizing sports betting in Japan is a way to help the Government closely and systematically manage activities related to betting in sports, reducing negativity in sports and illegal gambling in the community. Four sports are bet on in Japan: Horse Racing, Bicycle Racing, Water Motor Racing, and Speed ​​Motor Racing. In Japan, there are a total of 18 horse racecourses, 47 bicycle racetracks, 6 speed motorcycle races, and 24 water motorbike racing venues licensed by the Government for the betting business. These venues must meet specific regulations required by the governing bodies, such as infrastructure, competition conditions, quality of competition equipment, etc. Sports betting operation license issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan.



Sports betting was introduced in China in 1989 to raise funds for the 11th Asian Games. Before that, in 1987, China established a sports lottery system. In 1994, China Sports Lottery Administration Center (SLAC) was established, which is a system that coexists with the Welfare Lottery Center. The Chinese government issues sports lotteries with two main goals: to raise funds for sports and to raise funds for other social welfare programs.

Final thoughts

Over the years, the world sports betting market has tended to grow rapidly and become globalized. Facing that trend, the common direction of countries is to officially recognize and legalize betting activities to control and, at the same time, generate revenue to re-invest in sports activities as well as other fields. The legalization of the sports betting market in all countries aims to achieve the common goal of closely managing and monitoring the operation of this market, limiting adverse impacts on society as well as increasing state budget to invest in cultural and social fields.