The top athletes and sports teams from all parts of the world are flying to Rio de Janerio, Brazil to take part in the 2016 Rio Olympics, scheduled to begin August 5. The Nevada Gaming Control Board recently confirmed that its Sportsbooks will now be able to offer bets on selective sports and games at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
This news will come as a pleasant surprise to many bettors in Nevada as the state had banned all forms of betting on the Olympics during the last sixteen years after Sen. John McCain introduced the ban in 2001 to protect amateur Olympic athletes from being exploited by outside forces as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was unable to do anything to address this unfair exploitation.
However sportsbooks directors in Nevada decided to push for the ban to be lifted after they were made aware in 2012 that sportsbooks in England were covering the 2012 Summer Games in London and felt that Nevada sportsbooks should also have the option of providing betting services on global and popular sporting events.
The concerns of allowing sportsbetting on Olympic games stem from the fact that there are match-fixers out there who are willing to manipulate the final outcome of the game. The director for sportsbooks and races for MGM Resorts, Jay Rood tried to put these concerns at rest by stating that Nevada sportsbooks are not interested in booking ice skaters or twelve year old gymnasts but would look to cover mainstream events such as basketball, soccer, swimming and volleyball.
Nevada sportsbooks currently have the option to set odds all games and sporting events at the 2016 Rio Olympics but there appears to be a consensus amongst the sportsbooks in Nevada to focus only on sports and games that are timed or scored and not on those that are scored by the judges. This is due to the fact that match-fixers can approach these judges, bribe them and try to get the scores fixed. However an exception would be made for all boxing matches as the judges scoring is the stipulated format for scoring in all countries.
Sportsbooks expect the Olympics to generate in total around $20 to $30 million which is just a small fraction in comparison to what Nevada gamblers bet on other popular sporting events. The maximum amount allowed on Olympic sportsbets will be fixed at $2,000 another measure that will ensure there is limited potential for match-fixing at the Olympics.
Professor Stephen Mosher who works in sports ethics and character development at the Ithaca College in New York said that he was not surprised to hear that sportsbooks in Nevada were open to Olympic betting.
In a statement, Mosher said “The purity of the Olympic movement was lost years ago when the International Olympic Committee removed any distinction between amateurism and professionalism. Only in the U.S. does a portion of the population actually believe in what even the IOC calls this ‘magic dust.”