While the rest of the sports gambling world is gearing for a busy 2012 London Olympics, Las Vegas is unusually subdued leading up to the quadrennial sporting spectacle. What’s the deal, you ask?
Well, the gambling capital of the world – or a least until Macau takes over that mantle – isn’t allowing its sports books to put up betting lines on the Olympics. Apparently, Vegas sports books aren’t allowed to make wagers on amateur events with US college sports being the exception. State laws, which is being enforced by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, surrounding this issue can be traced back to the turn of the century when congress wanted to pass a bill to outlaw college sports betting in Nevada. In order to compromise, state officials proposed to ban “other” forms of amateur sports save for the US college sports. And since the Olympics is considered an amateur athletic competition, then it fell under the scope of that law, thus disavowing Vegas an opportunity to put their hands on that particular cookie jar.
The word “amateur” is, of course, defined pretty loosely in this case, especially when you consider that some of the athletes participating in the event – basketball, tennis, and soccer chief among them – come from professional backgrounds. But some will argue that all that is a convoluted form of semantics and either way, rules are rules.
On the flip side, Vegas sports books aren’t all that affected by not getting to put lines on the Olympics because, as history has shown, wagering on an event like this is pretty tricky.
For starters, and contrary to the sporting standards that the event wants to espouse on its athletes, the Olympics isn’t exactly a paragon of virtue, having had to deal with numerous scandals that have tainted its reputation for so many years. Not worth the hassle, right?
And let’s face it, you’d be hard-pressed to find a significant population in the area who may have a vested interest in who wins the gold medal in archery or, God forbid, handball.
But if you’ve got that itch that needs to be scratched, internationally-based sports books (both land-based and online) do offer lines for the Olympics. But really, is it all worth it, especially when you take into consideration that in terms of scheduling, the Olympics end just in time for the start of the NFL pre-season?
Why make a wager on an event you probably won’t know how its played when you can just save your disposal income to gear up for the NFL season?
The choice is easy for us and we won’t lose any sleep over missing out on Olympic betting. Something also tells us that Vegas won’t mind that either.