The long, slow erosion of the Olympics’ claim to sporting purity has reached a new landmark now that the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro will be gambled on inside Nevada sports books.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board, acting on the interests of race and sports book directors in the state, agreed last year to allow bettors to wager on Olympic events for the first time since the practice was forbidden in 2001.
Asked if the world should pause to mourn the lost innocence once associated with the Games, the head of Las Vegas’ powerful Westgate Superbook saw no reason to shed a tear.
“‘Used to be’ is exactly right, because almost everyone in the Olympics is getting paid now,” Jay Kornegay said. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. The Kenyans in the marathon, the Russians — they get paid. Our athletes get endorsements. There are very few amateurs left.”
Experts speculate Nevada books will accept around $20 million to $30 million in betting tickets on Olympic events, a small fraction compared to the sports that gamblers bet most frequently on the big boards along The Strip.
Jay Rood, director of the race and sports book for MGM Resorts, said he expects 70% of Olympic bets to be on men’s basketball games. – LA Times, full story
BETTING: While Sailing won’t be among the sports to bet on in Las Vegas, it is an option elsewhere such as at Paddy Power Sportsbetting. Among the North American competitors, the best odds are in the Men’s and Women’s 470 events where the USA team is among the favorites to medal.
BACK IN THE DAY: The Olympic Creed: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”