Friday, February 27, 2015

Las Vegas approves Olympic betting: Report

This summer, while the best athletes climb podiums wearing gold, silver and bronze medals in Rio de Janeiro, gamblers in Las Vegas will be cashing in their betting slips at casino windows.

On Thursday, the Nevada Gaming Commission voted to allow the state's sports books to offer bets on the Olympics for the first time in over a decade.

Prior to yesterday's reversal, betting on the Olympics was discouraged because of it involved amateur athletes, but professional athletes now also compete. 

And it didn’t take long for Nevada sports books to begin offering betting lines on the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

Within minutes after the Nevada Gaming Commission unanimously approved the regulation on Thursday, William Hill US established Jamaica’s Usain Bolt as a -200 favorite for the men’s 100 meters and said the USA men’s basketball team is a -320 favorite to win the gold medal for the third consecutive games.

The new regulation allows bookmakers to place betting lines on Olympic sporting or athletic events sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee. The chairman of the Gaming Control Board has the authority to remove an event or contest from betting activity.

After discussions in public workshops, the only question going into Thursday’s meeting was whether or not the Gaming Commission would prohibit wagers on events such as figure skating that are scored by judges. That notion was never addressed.

International sports books in Great Britain, Ireland and Australia and offshore Internet sites already allow such bets. South Point Hotel Casino pushed for the change with the support of other sports-book operators.

So start handicapping those little gymnasts. Because that next 10 may win you 20.

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