The Evolution of Horse Race Betting: Overview of the Oldest Sportsbetting

  • Horse racing and betting has been a pair since ancient times
  • Learn about how the UK made horse race betting historical
  • Due to the evolution of horse race betting, this industry generates millions of pounds
evolution of horse race betting

Horse racing is historical in the UK and betting on such races share this history. This article provides an overview of the evolution of horse race betting in the UK, highlighting the origins and current issues of horse racing. 

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The United Kingdom is still the biggest market for horse race betting with a long history of evolution. The true origins do not come from Great Britain. However,  the sport, as we know it today, developed here. And made it one of the biggest parts of both land-based and online sports betting. Find our guide on horse race betting in the UK with various tips and insights. Newcomers and old-timers welcome. 

What horse racing is 

When we talk about ancient sports and sports betting, horse racing surely comes to mind. Horse racing is an equestrian performance sport, typically involving two or more horses ridden by jockeys (or sometimes driven without riders) over a set distance, for competition. It is one of the oldest of all sports, as its basic premise. The aim is to identify which of two or more horses is the fastest over a set course or distance. This has been unchanged since at least classical antiquity. Considering how historical horse racing is, different cultures have developed a variety of horse racing traditions.

The reason why horse racing is particularly interesting in terms of gambling is the fact that these two have a traditional connection. Today, horse racing is functioning purely for sport, but also, a major part of horse racing’s interest and economic importance is in the gambling associated with it. The evolution of horse race betting dates back to the very origins of this sport. Even today, horse racing is one of the few sports that comes hand in hand with betting activities.  

The Evolution of horse race betting: the origins

The Evolution of horse race betting: the origins Since the beginning of recorded history, horse racing has been an organized sport for all major civilizations around the globe. The ancient Greek Olympics had events for both chariots and mounted horse racing. The sport was also very popular in the Roman Empire. Modern horse racing dates back to the 12th century when English knights returned from the Crusades with Arab horses. An increased number of Arab stallions were imported to England. They were bred with English mares. The aim was to produce horses that possessed both speed and endurance. The nobility would wager privately on match races between the fastest of these horses.

It was under the reign of Queen Anne that horse racing really took off. From that moment, it started to resemble the sport as it is known today. It is due to her efforts that horse racing has become a mainstream sports activity in the British sports culture. Ever since gambling on horse races has been one of the cornerstones of the British betting industry and the relationship between the two has historically been one of mutual dependence. In 1814, the five classic British Races were established. The English Classics are five of the oldest and most important English horse races. They are the Derby, the Oaks, the One Thousand Guineas, Saint Leger, and the Two Thousand Guineas

evolution of horse race betting
Betting on horse races is the classiest way of wagering

Biggest events to bet on 

These famous events generate more than £3.7 billion for Britain’s economy(Source: Racing explained). The British horse racing industry is a world-leader, millions watch modern racing events such as The Randox Health Grand National or the Cheltenham Festival. These are the biggest racing events in the UK that most Brits will be familiar with. However, since this country is truly a pioneer in horse racing, there is plenty to discover. You can find all the major events on and also follow online sportsbook news in the UK to keep up with this fruitful business. If interested in the best events to bet on in 2021, check out our previously written article

With the rise of online sports betting sites, horse racing moved also moved to virtual distributors. However, classic like Bet365 Sportsbook is still number one for horse race betting. They cover all major events, predictions and the best odds. We truly recommend gaining inspiration from their site when getting into horse race betting. As a matter of fact, in the UK, bookmakers fiercely compete for new costumers.  Don’t settle for average odds and make sure you make the best out of your wager. In a detailed guide, we collected all our tips for horse race betting. 

Evolution of horse race batting: moving online 

The last 10 years in the UK has seen massive growth in online gambling. Punters are now going online to place their bets where technology gives them access to a greater wealth of information and knowledge. Now racing punters exchange information on online forums, tipping sites etc. Moreover, the rise of online betting has created some new ideas, such as virtual horse racing

No horse racing betting site can equal the breadth and depth of race betting options at Bet365 Sportsbook, which extends its commitment to providing a wide range of betting markets on each race beyond the UK and Irish racing to many other countries around the world. It’s also a great place for value seekers. Early price hunters will know that bet365 is usually the first betting site to put up its odds for the next day’s racing, while bet365’s Each-Way Extra markets offer punting angles galore for even the most cut-and-dried contest. A brilliant sign-up offer and a supporting cast of existing customer promotions, especially those focused on ITV Racing meetings, make bet365 a must-have account for horse racing bettors.

evolution of horse race betting
At the bet365 Sportsbook, you can even watch live horse races

Modern days in the evolution of horse racing: animal welfare 

It is understandable that in a market as big as the horse racing industry in the UK, animal welfare activists have pointed out some problems. It is in our best interest to protect the rights of the animals and ensure animal welfare in order to keep this tradition alive. She should mention animal protection as part of the ongoing evolution of horse racing and betting. The RSPCA examines the oversupply of racehorses. They advocate for the racing industry to adopt responsible breeding practices including reducing the number of racehorses bred, minimising the risk of injury and for every horse to be provided with a suitable alternative role on retirement, including provisions being made to ensure their welfare. 

Furthermore, they highlight issues such as the use of painful devices – and alternative ways for such problems. Doping horses is also a serious problem that we should abolish in any case. Considering the rights of animals and the respect, we as humans should ensure. With these issues seeing daylight, the horse racing industry has more pressure to deliver a safer and better environment for the animals. Therefore we suggest researching each team and event in terms of their animal welfare policy before supporting them with our wagers. 

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