TG Talk - Will the Olympics ever be a major betting event?

TG Talk - Will the Olympics ever be a major betting event?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron

The Olympics started this week, although bookmakers are more interested with the start of the football season than a collection of sporting events in Brazil, despite the success of London 2012. Will the Olympics ever be a major betting event?

Anthony Hodgetts, Affiliate Manager at Rank Interactive, said: “I think some might argue that the Olympics is a major betting event based on the fact they see the amounts being wagered continually increasing with each 4-year cycle. However, that may just be the general expansion in the industry as a whole covering that up.

“Apart from the hardened punter, for the average armchair fan the Olympics is much more of a spectacle, where they are exposed to a large number of niche-events that they don't really feel that they know enough about to start wagering on comfortably.

“With the EPL, having a bet on your team can be a form of support or a way to make an indifferent match more entertaining. The Olympics as a spectacle doesn't seem to require a bet to make it any more engaging.”

Andreas Bardun, head of sports at “Personally I believe that yes, the Olympics do have the potential to become a big(ger) betting event. The growth of live and mobile betting makes this event a lot more attractive to bet on.

“One of the things keeping it back is the issue of time-zones. The earliest year when the Olympics may take place in a time-zone friendly country is in 2024, where Rome, Paris and Budapest are still in the running, together with Los Angeles.

“Furthermore, some of the most followed events at the Olympics, like swimming, athletics, or gymnastics are not the most betting-friendly sports. This means that what people enjoy watching on TV during the Olympics is not always aligned with what they like to bet on.”

Richard Moffat, CEO at “We found that there was a lot of interest in Olympics betting for London 2012 and this really has carried forward to Brazil 2016. There are some great betting markets with the likes of Usain Bolt for the 100m, Rudnisha for the 800m, Kiprop for the 1500m, Jessica Ennis-Hill for the Heptathlon, Dafne Schippers for the women’s 100m as well as many others all at tempting prices between 4/7 and 15/8. We have seen a lot of tips on these markets already at OLBG. Where there is live sport to watch on TV there is an interest in betting on it and we hope our tipsters can put people onto a few winners."

Tom Galanis, director at TAG Media: “Comparatively speaking, I can’t ever see the Olympics becoming mainstream in comparison to football, even though football itself plays a part. As a festival of sport taking place over 16 days, what captivates the audience most, aside from flagship events like the 100m in the Athletics, is the ability to drop into sports which normally carry little interest outside of a long fortnight every four years, and quite often for seconds or minutes at a time - leaving limited scope for researching a betting market, or even giving it a second's thought. As such, the audience understanding of the event they’re watching does not reach the heights of Premier League football, for instance, and the passion derived from watching it is driven more by the sport than the end outcome.

“The majority of athletes themselves operate from more of an amateur background and are far less likely to engage in bookmaker marketing activity to create the association and of course bookmakers are not permitted to market activity around the Olympics given the strict silencing power the Games’ rights holders maintain. In the UK, the Olympics invariably clashes with the start of the new Premier League season, which both of the largest sports broadcasters in Sky and BT are heavily invested in and consequently hammer marketing budgets towards over the Olympics, with bookmaker advertising underpinning this.”

Will the Olympics ever be a major betting event?

Will the Olympics ever appeal to sports bettors?

No, it's just not engaging enough for a sports betting customer
64% (21 votes)
Yes, its a high quality competition with extensive viewership
36% (12 votes)
Total votes: 33
Poll availability: 
Wednesday, August 10, 2016 to Friday, September 9, 2016
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