Two centuries after the first proper bookie, betting’s future is no banker Greg Wood, The Guardian · April 21, 2019 at 7:54 pm The world’s first bookmaker, so the story goes, was a man called Harry Ogden. One afternoon in the early 1790s, when organised thoroughbred racing was already almost a century old, Ogden went to Newmarket races and did something no one in the business of taking bets had ever done before. He chalked up odds about every runner on the card. In doing so, he immediately became the only proper bookie on the planet. He was not the only one for long. Until then the standard offer for punters had been a binary choice between the favourite and “the field”.