Betting On The Olympics Taboo In Nevada

On February 12, 2014, in Gambling Headlines, by admin

Sochi 2014 OlympicsYou might think that the Sochi Winter Olympics would result in a considerable amount of wagering on the major events and so it does, just not in the State of Nevada.  Nevada Gaming regulation number 22.120-1(a) forbids it outright stating that ‘no wagers may be accepted or paid by any book on ‘any amateur non collegiate sport or athletic event’ meaning specifically the Olympics.

Bookies and sportsbooks all over the globe will be taking wagers on the Olympics.  The Men’s Ice Hockey in particular is expected to drawn a large handle. But the books in Las Vegas and the rest of Nevada will be locked out of that action by law.

The move to nix Olympic wagering in Nevada was a compromise from back in 2001 when Senator John McCain of Arizona made a move to halt all wagering on college sports in Nevada. That would have put a big bite of the business enjoyed each weekend by Nevada books. So, the tradeoff became accepted and Vegas takes a break during the Olympics.

McCain’s plan almost came to be when he pointed out that Nevada books were not offering odds of their own in state colleges and universities but were doing so for every other state in the union. Double standard was the cry, and it almost worked. McCain said, “Why should they offer odds on all the other colleges, considered amateur, when they don’t even take bets on their own teams”.

The Nevada Gaming Commission quickly conceded McCain’s point and allowed wagering on college sporting events involving Nevada schools. They also offered some other concessions which included requiring books to report any suspicious activities. They were especially looking for any wagers that might have been placed by… or on behalf of, any coaches or other participants in a college event.

Although Nevada books are still not taking wagers on the Olympics, there is still the on-going problem of defining the term ‘amateur non-collegiate sports of athletic events’. The International Olympic Committee does not pay any athletes to compete in the Olympics.

However, the United States Olympic Committee, as well as those of various other nations, does often pay their athletes bonuses for medals earned. Of course there also exists the lucrative world of sponsorships and endorsements which can actually yield young athletes quite a bit of monetary compensation in return for putting their names and faces behind a sponsor‘s product.

Of course many Olympians are far from amateurs. The NHL and NBA players participating are the most glaring examples but no one is pushing that point.


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