Nevada casinos and sportsbooks received some good news after the Nevada Gaming Control Board acquiesced to legalize betting on the Olympics.
A proposal from a group of Nevada casinos was discussed during a meeting held earlier this week and concluded with the board recommending to the Nevada Gaming Commission to overturn the long-standing ban on Olympic betting in the state.
Gaming board Executive Secretary Marie Bell told Bloomberg that the parameters the board agreed to would make “Olympic sporting or athletic events, sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee” legal in Nevada, albeit with the caveat that betting would still be “subject to limitation by the chairman or the chairman’s designee in his sole and absolute discretion.”
The Nevada Gaming Commission can still alter these parameters if the recommendation contains language that needs to be changed such as allowing betting on events that don’t involve judges. On that end, popular Olympic sports like gymnastics, figure skating, and diving would remain illegal whereas other sports would be deemed legally bet-worthy.
The Commission is set to meet on Feb. 26. Should it eventually green light Olympic betting in Nevada, it would be a significant step forward for the state, which has long banned betting on amateur sports not including college sports, thanks in large part to the efforts of Senator John McCain.
The Olympics were not included in a 2001 deal that allowed Nevada to accept wagers on collegiate sporting events, even though Olympic betting has been widespread in other parts of the world, including the UK, which offers a plethora of Olympics-related bets, including prop bets.
Lest we forget the prop on Queen Elizabeth II’s hat during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Games? Or that a UFO would appear during the same ceremony at 1,000/1 odds?
A move like this will involve other organizations, including the US Olympic Committee. The committee’s general counsel, Chris McCleary, already told Bloomberg that it will examine whether the proposal to legalize Olympics betting would “affect its rights and obligations under the Ted Stevens Act.”
“We need to ensure that any such step does not threaten the integrity of Olympic sport,” McCleary added.