This weekend the Opening Ceremonies will start the 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia with countries from all over the world competing for hundreds of medals.
While betting the events is allowed in sports books around the world like Bovada, which currently has the U.S. 3.25 to win the most Gold Medals, there will not be a single option for wagering available for the entire Winter Games in Vegas or the rest of Nevada.
The Nevada Gaming Commission has a regulation that says no wager can be accepted nor paid on any amateur sport or athletic event that is non-collegiate.
What that means is no bets will be accepted for the Olympics in Vegas, but on sportsbook.com, topbet and betonline as well as Bovada there are numerous options and props to choose from.
The prohibition in Vegas was the result of a trade off in 2001, when Senator John McCain of Arizona attempted to eliminate college sports from the Nevada boards.
That would have been a huge blow to casino business throughout the state as college sports is one of their biggest draws, especially college football.
McCain’s push to take college sports off the boards gained strength due to the double standard in Nevada of not offering any odds on the states two colleges, Nevada and UNLV. McCain could not understand why the boards had offers on odds for all the other teams around the nation that were deemed “amateur” but not on their own two.
McCain at the time had a good point, so the Gaming Commission in Nevada changed its regulation immediately and allowed all betting on the two colleges in Nevada.
At the same time, it made other amendments to its regulations, requiring the books to report any suspicious activities, like a bet placed on behalf of a player or coach in a particular event that, that player or coach was involved in.
That topic is brought up today over a decade later since the Olympics start this weekend and the boards in Vegas and Reno will be void of bets for them.
There is no telling the amount of money the casinos could have earned on the Olympics. However, since professional hockey players participant in the Olympics, the NHL has taken a winter break and Vegas will also lose revenue for the 15 days they are on hiatus.
The Olympics are defined as non-collegiate amateur sports, but the participants often times are paid for winning medals by their home country and receive endorsements and sponsorships as well.
However, the tag of amateur has stayed and the Gaming Commission in Nevada is not in any hurry to make a change.
The state knows how important it was to keep college basketball and football on the boards as it represents 40% of their overall handle. However, it does not look like they are ready to add the Olympics any time soon.