The Rise of Gambling and Sports in Europe

When it comes to Europe, the continent has a huge history both with gambling but also with sports. Some of the first casinos around the world were built here, the first one coming from Italy in the 17th century, and then followed by others in France. Games like roulette and baccarat are originally from Italy and France as well.

Sports have always been loved by Europeans as well, the English being the first to invent, in the 19th century the nowadays so popular game known under the name of football or soccer, depending on your region of origin.

Since both of these industries are related in one way or another to entertainment, they crossed paths a couple of times in the past, contributing greatly to the mainstream spread of a popular gambling niche, sports betting.

Sports Betting

Sports betting was ongoing for a while since both in Europe but also in the USA, racehorse betting was a popular activity amongst the people that were watching the races. Somewhere in the 19th century, professional bookmakers started coming to England, around the same time that football was getting popular, and it wasn’t long until a new sports betting niche was born.

Even if casino gambling was a legalized activity in some parts of the USA in the 20th-century sports betting was prohibited until 1949.

While sports betting was completely illegal in the USA, on the other side of the ocean, in Europe this activity was becoming more popular every day. Football is the sport that managed to make sports betting a highly popular activity amongst the people.

After the birth of the internet, gambling, in general, started to become more accessible to people, contributing greatly to the widespread adoption of sports betting. Software development and the construction of more powerful computers allowed bookmakers to use a digital centralized database to make the bets, instead of using paper.

That, combined with the online gambling houses that included sports betting allowed this gambling niche to become so popular nowadays in Europe, with countries such as England being the most involved. Now, people can bet not only on football and horses but, also on dog racing, tennis, and any other sport.

Casino Gambling

Besides sports betting, casino gambling also became very popular, very quickly in Europe. Even if countries such as the USA and Macau are best known for their land-based casinos, Europe always had more friendly regulations regarding gambling, managing to attract a lot of casino owners to the continent.

As said above, gambling establishments a lot smaller but very similar to the casinos we have today first appeared in Italy, and France, and only later they started spreading around the world, the first ones from the USA being opened only centuries later, in 1937.

Casinos such as Casino de Monte Carlo opened in 1863, Casino di Campione from 1917, and The Ritz Club London turned Europe into a gambling attraction. Even if we might not have The Vegas Strip filled with famous casinos, Europe is known for its more gambling-friendly regulations, allowing for the growth of online casinos.

Even if the USA always had a love-hate relationship regarding online gambling, Europe welcomed this activity, allowing for the growth of the online gambling industry. Even now, more than two decades since online gambling got invented, the USA still has many restrictions regarding this industry. Because of that, many online casinos based around the world still have to restrict the onboarding of American citizens.

As it happened with sports betting, once casino gambling got introduced to the internet, giving birth to online gambling, the industry managed to gain a lot of popularity, contributing greatly to the mainstream adoption of this activity.

Now, more than two decades later since the first regulated European online casino got created, the people have the possibility to play a wide range of casino games in any free online casino that they can find on the internet. The main benefit of online betting, regardless if that’s in the sports or casino niche is that the users have the ability to play these games without having to leave their home.

The more exciting thing that we’re starting to notice lately is the rise of mobile gambling, allowing the people to bet regardless of their location, or their surroundings. No matter if it’s sports betting or casino gambling, once the mobile infrastructure starts to improve, more people will have the freedom to bet from a fully mobile setup.


Europe and Europeans were always eager to adopt new entertainment activities, regardless if those were new sports in the 19th century or internet gambling more than 100 years later. Thanks to the gambling-friendly environment present in Europe across history, most forms of betting managed to find a user base and a home on this continent pretty easily.

Looking back at Europe’s friendly regulations regarding gambling we can be sure that any new gambling niche or gambling technology will be able to get developed here, and have enough space to impact the world and change the way people think about entertainment.


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