Offshore Sportsbooks – A Little History

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Just getting interested in offshore sportsbetting and offshore sportsbooks? Wondering where it all began? Grab a cold drink, sit back, and learn a little piece of history.

Of course, sportsbetting has been around a gazillion years. Heck, they used to bet on the outcome of events a the Coliseum in Rome in the days when they used to fight the lions!

Whenever you have a demand, in this case, for betting, someone steps in to fill that demand. In this case, the bookie. For years, most wagering on sporting events was done via the local bookie. In many instances, depending on location, these operations were controlled by organized crime and with that, a host of other problems. Such as getting paid when you win!

In the 1970’s, sportsbetting took off in Las Vegas. Vegas became THE place to wager on sports. At first, independent sports books were the rage. But gradually, the major hotel and casino corporations took over and eventually created the Vegas Sportsbook as we know it today. Huge sportsbooks, with giant screens all over the walls broadcasting Games from across the country. An odds board flashing the latest lines on all the Games and so on.

Vegas was king until the late 1990’s, when the offshore sports book started it’s rise to the top.

Offshore sportsbetting, didn’t really start offshore at all. Well, unless you consider England to be an offshore location.

Offshore sportsbooks and offshore sportsbetting did not start with the internet. Back in 1985, a gentleman named Gary Bowman opened a business in the UK named American Football Pools. The concept was simple. Sell parlay cards to the American sportsbetting marketplace. The catch was, the business was located in England, where sportsbetting was perfectly legal.

The idea, of course, took off and was a huge success. So much so, that Gary Bowman saw the need to expand the business. To eventually, make it just like Vegas, and allow customers to wager on sports, not just parlays, but straight bets, teasers and so on, from the comfort of their own homes. American Football Pools would eventually become Bowman International.

Not long after that, roughly 1987 or 1988, a bookmaker from the United States with a large clientele, decided to open a call center in the Dominican Republic. His idea, was to accept bets offshore in the Dominican, out of reach of the US authorities. They took out ads in a few sports publications to build their business even further. His mistake, however, was that part of that business was still conducted in the US. Customers were paid off with the use of runners and agents at local bars and clubs. A big no no. Of course going on 60 minutes and being called the biggest bookmaker in the United States didn’t help much either.

Or did it?

That company is still around today and is doing just fine. That company is known as CRIS Sports and or

Remember, this is still the late 1980’s. The internet is still not even a word in the dictionary!

So for the next few years, a few other companies, American bookmakers from various parts of the US, operated out of the Dominican Republic and then, Antigua.

It was around 1994 when the online boom started to take off mostly via services like prodigy and AOL. It was then that you started to hear whispers about this thing called the internet. The internet. What is it? How do I get on it? Is it safe?

If you have only been on the net a few years, you wouldn’t recognize the early internet. It was made up of sites that were mostly all text. There were no fancy websites with flash and so on. Just plain text links. Oh, and there was no such thing as a domain name. All the websites has these really long addresses that made no sense whatsoever.

But back in 1994 and 1995 is when you first started to see offshore sportsbooks on the internet. Back then, the websites served as billboards. There was no online wagering. You simply went to the website to get a little more information about the offshore sportsbook. In those days, there were LESS THAN 10 offshore sportsbooks in operation.

It wasn’t until around this time that a company named Intertops started accepting wagers via the internet. They were located in Austria but eventually moved a branch of their business to Antigua.

From that point forward, each year saw tremendous growth. The offshore sportsbook industry just literally exploded and continues to grow to this day. There are now offshore betting companies in Russia, England, Australia, All over the Caribbean, and places too many to name. Literally all over the world, with no end to the growth in site.

Offshore sports betting has seen it’s share of problems. There have been various situations over the years where these establishments have gone out of business, taking their customers deposits with them. There have been cOurt cases and arrests for alleged illegal activities and so on. But this is no different than any other industry. There are always going to be growing pains.

Bettorsworld has been along for the ride since the beginning and has enjoyed every minute of it. One can only imagine what the next 10 years will bring. We’ve already seen the poker boom. What’s next?

Whatever it is, there’s no doubt that offshore sportsbetting and offshore sportsbooks are here to stay. It’s really only a matter of time before you see this entire industry regulated in some fashion. There’s really no other way to go. It’s just a matter of time.

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