With the 2014 Winter Olympics well under way, sports bettors have a lot to think about right now. U.S. citizens are not allowed to place bets on the games in their own country, but many offshore sports books are now accepting Olympic-themed wagers. Bettors who aren't sure how to wager their money can find valuable advice online. Sites like PaddyPower.com provide odds and other data for the games currently taking place at the Sochi Olympics. Bettors make decisions based on the provided data and wager money with sports books that accept Olympic bets.
Gold Medal Odds
Ladbrokes, a British online betting company, posted its projected Olympic odds earlier this month. Some of the categories include men's slalom, men's and women's figure skating, and men's snowboard slopestyle. The country expected to earn the most gold medals, according to Ladbrokes, is Norway at a ratio of 5/6. The U.S. trails closely behind at a ratio of 7/2, followed by Germany at a ratio of 11/2. These odds are likely to change as Olympic events unravel. If and when they do, Ladbrokes and other online sites will provide users with updated odds. If you don't like to bet on sports, don't miss the other extravagant betting proposals by Ladbrokes.
One of the most popular sports in the Winter Olympics is hockey. At the time of this writing, the U.S. Olympic hockey team's chance of winning a gold medal trails behind Russia, Sweden, and Canada at a ratio of 6/1. According to data, Canada stands the best chance of capturing the gold with projected odds of 2/1. If the Canadian Olympic hockey team earns the gold this year, it will be the country's third win in the past four Winter Olympic seasons. The gold medal game is scheduled for February 23.
Why Americans Can't Bet on the Olympics (in America)
Watching the Olympics is a lot of fun, and wagering money on the outcome of the athletic contests adds to the excitement. Americans love the Olympics, but in their home country, they are forbidden to wager money on the games through brick-and-mortar casinos and sports books. The reason for this can be traced back to the year 2000, when a piece of legislation called the Amateur Sports Integrity Act was put on the table. The primary purpose of the act was to ban college sports betting, but it did not pass. Meanwhile, the Nevada Gaming Commission decided to legalize betting on sports at University of Nevada branches in Las Vegas and Reno. As a result of these conflicting events, Senator John McCain took a concession on the bill that prohibited Olympic betting but not college sports betting.
Las Vegas Hotel sports book director Jay Kornegay said he thinks the concept of legalized Olympic betting should be revisited. Back in 2000, the concession “wasn't . . . significant,” according to Kornegay, because few people seemed interested in Olympic wagering. Today, that trend has changed. Gambling is much more common, and much more accepted, than ever before. “The rest of the world is taking wagers on the Olympics,” Kornegay explained. It follows, therefore, that the U.S. would want to keep in step with the rest of the globe in this practice.
Charity Betting: Legal Everywhere
During the 2012 Summer Olympics, an exceptional circumstance allowed Americans to legally bet on the games. The catch: All winnings had to be applied to charity through a website called CharityBets The U.S. Olympic Committee reviewed and approved the process, saying that betting on Olympics through CharityBets.com wasn't "technically" betting because bettors did not make any money.
Olympians who wanted their names placed on the 2012 CharityBet.com roster had to specifically request their name to be listed. Participating athletes also got to choose which charity would receive their winnings.
The Issue of Cheating: International Olympic Committee Gets Help From Nevada
For the first time this year, the Nevada Gaming Control Board is partnering with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to guard against cheating at the Olympics. Members of the board are on the lookout for instances of match fixing and other forms of deception that could be related to gambling. The board has worked in the same capacity with the NFL and major league baseball in the past.
During the 2012 Summer Olympics, a similar partnership was created between the U.K. Gambling Commission and the IOC. The Gambling Commission was asked to remain on the lookout for suspicious betting patterns and other trends that could indicate foul play.
A Brief History of Olympic Betting
The Olympics originated thousands of years ago in Greece. Athletic competitions in Corinth, Delphi, Nemea, and Olympus focused on wrestling, jumping, running, discus throwing, and other games of strength and skill. Winning athletes received prize money. Spectators joined the fun by wagering money on match outcomes. The Early Romans were some of the biggest gamblers; this culture viewed gambling as a way of life.
The act of sports wagering grew in popularity across the globe and pressed on through time. England tried to outlaw it during the Middle Ages, but the practice endured. By the time of the Renaissance, people were betting money on all sorts of physical contests, including a particularly painful sport called “shin-kicking.” Tournaments and championships grew in popularity through the years. Organized sports boomed in the 20th century, leading to the global phenomenon known as the Olympics.
Today, much of the world enjoys watching and wagering on Olympic sports matches. The states' reluctance to legalize Olympic wagering puts it somewhat behind the times when compared to other countries. Many people believe it is only a matter of time until Olympic betting becomes legal in the U.S. With the continuous expansion of brick-and-mortar casinos and online gambling in the country, this could prove to be true sooner rather than later.