The Summer Olympics have been postponed for a year due to COVID-19 and amid calls for them to be cancelled altogether, and the Summer Olympics are about to begin. Friday 23 July marks the official start date for the 2020 Summer Olympics, which include more than 306 events. The events are expected to lead to something that hasn't happened before, as they could produce the biggest legal sports betting figure ever.
Betting on the success of the Olympics
It would be impossible to know how much betting was done at the Olympics using illegal and offshore books, but this summer's games will be the first since the US Supreme Court told lawmakers in Congress that they were completely wrong to approve the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). Since that law was repealed in 2018, sports betting has become fashionable in the US, no longer limited to Nevada, and more and more books are willing to put some lines.
How many lines will be added is unclear. Sports Handle has apparently enlisted the support of several insiders, and Fox Sports' Sam Panajotovic believes it will generate a lot of interest, especially because it is a new segment of betting and casinos like Danish Casino Uden Om Rofus with untapped opportunities. He thinks reference betting will be one of the biggest segments, explaining, "We see that a lot of the books suggest a medal tally and the number of medals a country will get. You can see from the books that the more candy in the sweet shop, the more the customer wants. The more I bid, the more I will bid as a consumer".
Warned and called upon to make Olympic bets
Analysts such as Panajotovic and others, without explicitly stating it, believe that bookmakers could be the real winners. They predict that many bets during the Olympics will be "bets for the uneducated", with punters placing bets without knowledge of a particular sport or athlete. Uneducated betting often ends in disaster for the players, but not for the books. This is why Panajotovic gives wise advice, stating, "My advice to the betting player is to please do your homework, because you can go down a very slippery slope with these bets."
There is also the problem of the time difference. Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of New York, which will affect how and when to bet. Fortunately, those states that have been smart enough to legalise online betting will be able to benefit as punters place their bets while sitting at the dinner table or watching TV late at night. Monmouth Park Casino vice president of operations Bill Knauf predicts: "I think this is one of those events where, if you want some action or entertainment, you are likely to make a bet long before it starts. I don't think it's the kind of betting that you have to wait until the last minute to make."
Betting on betting targets
Someone needs to come up with a reference bet on which events will bring in the most bets during the Olympics. For now, this can only be predicted on the basis of the sport's popularity among fans. Knauf expects swimming and athletics to be big betting targets, and table tennis is also likely to be a big target. After all, it was table tennis that kept many bookmakers alive during the COVID-19 sports lockout.
Basketball will also become a popular sport for punters. Team USA, always a crowd pleaser and favourite, failed to get off to a good start, losing friendlies to Nigeria and Australia. This should make for some interesting moments in the medal games when they begin.