Since the Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on sports betting in 2018, the industry has grown faster than expected. Almost half of all Americans now live in states where legal sportsbooks can be found and regulated.
At its core, sports betting is putting money behind an outcome you believe will occur and getting paid if the bet wins. You can place a wager on the winner of a game or combine multiple outcomes in one bet, which is called a parlay. You can also bet on the total points scored by a team in a game, which is known as a spread bet.
A bet on a team or individual player to win a game is called a moneyline wager, while a bet on the winning margin in a game is referred to as a point spread. The rules of betting vary depending on the sport, so it is important to understand them before placing a bet.
For example, any wager placed on the rescheduled result of a boxing match will be settled based on the official results as posted by the fight’s governing body. Similarly, any change to the format of a fight will render all bets on that event void.
Those rules are in part intended to protect players from corruption that is often linked to betting, such as the 1919 Black Sox Scandal. A professional gambler named Joseph Sullivan paid eight members of the Chicago White Sox to fix the World Series, which was won by the Reds. The gambler was banned from baseball for life and is considered one of the biggest sports scandals in history.