Nevada Approves Olympic Betting

Gambling regulators amend law

Nevada had banned Olympic betting in 2001, but it is legal online in many countries, putting Las Vegas at a disadvantage. (Wikimedia Commons)
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Nevada gambling regulators voted Thursday to allow the state to offer Olympic betting.

The new amendment, which passed unanimously, still permits the Nevada Gaming Control Board chairman to limit bets at his or her discretion, reported USA Today. Betting on the Olympics had been banned since 2001, following a regulation sponsored by John McCain prohibiting gambling on non-college amateur events. Nevada still bet on its own collegiate sports but outlawed doing so on the Olympics.

“With more than two out of every three Americans having watched the London Olympics in 2012, the games in Rio have the potential to make a sizeable impact in August of 2016, like we saw last June with the World Cup,” UK bookmaker William Hill’s CEO Joe Asher said in a statement. “We look forward to continually expanding our Olympic menu in the next 18 months leading up to the games.”

Among the odds posted: The U.S. men’s basketball team is a minus-320 favorite for a gold medal, the United States is favored to win 6.5 more gold medals than China, and Brazil is plus-250 to win the gold in men’s soccer, ESPN reported.

Betting on the Olympics is legal online and in many countries, including Great Britain, Australia, and Ireland, which had put Las Vegas at a disadvantage. “Overall, this just allows us to be a little more competitive with the rest of the world,” Jay Kornegay, vice president of the Westgate SuperBook, told ESPN.

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