Question by malekt524: How did people bet on horses in the old days?
Just went to Saratoga Springs…lots of fun!! I was wondering if anyone knew how the betting system was done before computers were invented…did they use paper and pen…circle in a newspaper? How did they make their bets?

Best answer:

Answer by Sandra S.
At Saratoga the betting ring was near the finish line. A circle of stalls, raised, and with chalk boards at the top would serve as encouragement to get a patron’s attention as the sheet-writers and pay-off men took care of business. On the chalkboard the bookie would have his name, the horses for the upcoming race and beside them would be their odds, which changed frequently.The sheet-writer took the bets and marked it in the bookmaker’s tabs. The pay-off man did precisely what his name indicates, should the bettor have won his race. At day’s end, with torn tickets littering the betting ring and grandstand, the bookmakers had ample reason to smile.

Later as today many have racing program in hand and still made their wagers with bookmakers, not automated self-service machines .The first pari-mutuel betting machines, installed at approximately 300 betting windows, arrived in 1940. Today you can still use a wager slip and write your bets with pencil and take to the the teller window or use the automatic betting machines, or computers..we have simulcasting, live racing tote boards, and all kinds of things to aid in betting..leaving the game of chance as intriguing as it was in yester years..with many more options.. I say do what’s make you feel the most comfortable.. entrees and results can still be found in local papers…Circle you choice or choices if you wish.

(at one time women were not allowed to bet, imagine

For more on full betting history see link in source.


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