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1st online sports bet.... Ever!

Think back 10 years, what were you doing then? When Clinton was in power, when the city of Atlanta was gearing up to host the Olympics and when San Francisco were a powerhouse NFL team. Chances are you weren’t playing online poker and you certainly weren’t placing online bets because the first online bet was placed 10 years ago this January. January 17th to be exact, by a Finnish I.T consultant called Jukka Honkavaara at online site Intertops.com.

G.O.M caught up with Jukka to ask him about that bet how he found Intertops.com when no one knew about online betting and the future of the online betting.

G.O.M: So 10 years since you placed the first online bet…

Jukka: At the time I didn’t know I was the first online bettor, it just so happened that in 1996 when I found this service that I was the first person to ever place a bet online. I received a call saying that according to their records I was the first person to place a bet online.

G.O.M: How did you find the Intertops site to place the first online bet?

Jukka: Like many people at that time using the internet, I found the website by accident. I was doing some research and found their site.

G.O.M: Were you looking for a site specifically to place an online bet? Or a generic gambling site?

Jukka: I was looking for a site that had sports betting as I was into betting on the English Premier league Soccer, as they showed it on T.V every weekend in Finland. I found watching the matches became more interesting if I had a bet on it.

G.O.M: Did you not have access to a local bookmaker?

Jukka: I lived about 50 or 60 kilometres from Helsinki. The only choice we had was the state operated lottery and sports wagering system in Finland. So at the time in 1996 there weren’t that many choices and I felt that at the time the Intertops service gave me better odds and options.

G.O.M: How did you get interested in sports betting to be in a position to become the first person to place a bet online?

Jukka: I had bet locally on sports through the state operated system, you have to choose 13 different games at the same time and you have to choose 1, X or 2 (1 = home win, X = draw, 2 = away win), which weren’t the sort of odds I was looking for. So I was trying to find a place where you could bet on just one or two games at a time, maximum three.

G.O.M: So tell us about who you bet on the first time you wagered at Intertops?

Jukka: I placed a bet on two different soccer matches, both of which I thought were sure bets featuring heavily favoured sides. Tottenham and Everton were playing sides that were a lot worse than them that day. I chose to bet on soccer because I had been following the Premier League for a long time. Also I think the Tottenham game was the chosen game for the afternoon match on T.V in Finland, so I think that is another reason why I choose one of the games to bet on. But that issn’t the main reason I bet on teams, I try to be more objective.

G.O.M: Were you scared to give your credit card details to an online sports book?

Jukka: Of course, because at the time there was a lot of stories around about fraud happening. But I checked out the Intertops site and their background and saw that they had been handling bets, allbeit not online, since 1983. So I thought if they’ve been doing this since 1983 I was safe. So I was confident that it was ok.

G.O.M: You won the bet, what did you do with your winnings?

Jukka: I kept playing, I won some, I lost some. Later on I branched out to betting on the NHL too.

G.O.M: Would you say you are up overall in your history of sports betting?

Jukka: I think I’m pretty much even at the moment, but I don’t know the exact situation.

G.O.M: Do you play online poker as well, that seems to be big in Scandenavia.

Jukka: I have tried it a few times and understand why it is so popular, but it is sports betting that really appeals to me.

G.O.M: Do you still bet regularly?

Jukka: It’s been on and off, it’s every now and then, it’s maybe not every week.

G.O.M: Do you still bet at Intertops?

Jukka: Yeah, there are a lot of good services around but I’m definitely accustomed to what their site is like.

G.O.M: Have you got any betting tips for our readers:

Jukka: Like I say I mostly bet soccer, with that it’s just basic things like team’s track record, which players are going to be playing and of course you look at the odds and try to find some place where you think you have an advantage. Also try to read a lot!

G.O.M: Do you think online betting will still be around in 10 years time?

Jukka: Yeah totally, it’s very safe and secure now, the shady image has gone. There is much more credibility to the industry now and there are many reliable services now where you can bet online.

G.O.M: What sort of improvements in online sports betting have you seen in the last 10 years?

Jukka: The amount of information that you receive on the actual site has greatly improved, this has made it possible to do some research into who to place your bet on at the actual site. Then there a few really important things that have improved; the safety of sites is much better and you feel much safer giving out your credit card details. If you don’t trust the service you aren’t going to play. In the last 10 years, the amount of different types of bets that you can place has increased significantly. Thirdly the fact that your account balance changes straight away if you win gives you confidence.

G.O.M: So are you going to continue placing bets online?

Jukka: For sure, it’s a lot of fun and it’s normal in Finland.

What happened in 1996? (source wikipedia.com)
  • January 7 - One of the worst blizzards in American history hits eastern states, killing more than 100.
  • February 10 - Chess computer Deep Blue defeats Garry Kasparov for the first time.
  • March 2 - John Howard is elected Prime Minister of Australia in a landslide election victory, over the Labor Party's Paul Keating.
  • April 2 - US Mafioso John Gotti is found guilty of murder of Paul Castellano.
  • May - The Onion launches its satirical news publication on the Internet.
  • June 1 - Tennessee celebrates its bicentennial statehood.
  • July 5 - Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be successfully cloned from an adult cell, is born. It will prematurely die in February 2003.
  • August 6 - The Ramones play their last show ever at Lollapalooza.
  • September 7 - Rapper Tupac Shakur shot in Las Vegas, Nevada following Mike Tyson bout. He would succumb 6 nights later on September 13.
  • October 23 - Opening statements in the O.J. Simpson civil trial begin.
  • November 5 - U.S. presidential election, 1996: Democrat incumbent Bill Clinton defeats Republican challenger Bob Dole to win his second term.
  • December 26 - JonBenét Ramsey, a six-year-old beauty queen, was found murdered in her family's basement in Boulder, Colorado.
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