If you think that sports betting and the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are a perfect fit, you might want to have a chat with owners and operators of Nevada’s legal sports books.
The purveyors of Sin City sports betting offered action on the games for the first time in more than 15 years and their customers replied with a resounding, “Meh.”
According to a number of published reports, including this one from Bloomberg News, Nevada’s sports betting community and Vegas tourists were not exactly dropping Olympic-sized wagers on Olympic events. Jay Rood, a bookmaker at the Mirage, described the Olympic action to Bloomberg saying:
We probably have taken about as much in Olympic wagers as we would on a big baseball game, regular season.
Baseball, as Bloomberg correctly points out, is not one the more popular sports for Vegas bettors.
To say that Vegas sports book operators were disappointed by their Olympic-sized flop is something of an understatement. After all, someone had to put out a line on every Olympic sports from basketball to Judo. In an interview with the Las Vegas Sun, oddsmaker Johnny Avello expressed the industry’s collective frustration when he said:
I put in a lot of time in it for very little action.
Even worse, most sports books reported that visitors were very interested in watching Olympic sports, they just weren’t interested in betting on them.
The sole exception to the Olympics sports betting slump was USA Basketball, which is packed with name brand NBA stars.
Sports betting on Olympic events was outlawed from 2000 until this year in an effort to help protect the integrity of amateur sports. Turns out, that ban was definitely not necessary in the United States.
(Image Courtesy of Mark Fischer)