Olympics Betting 2024

With more countries legalising gambling, will 2024 be the year when betting on Olympic events becomes popular with punters?

Olympics Betting 2024
Olympics Betting 2024

As  sporting ambassador for betting.betI have  been looking into betting trends in Olympic events  to understand the limited interest in betting at the Olympic Games alongside the lack of betting markets offered by online sportsbooks and bookmakers.

With more countries legalising gambling, will 2024 be the year when betting on Olympic events becomes popular with punters?

Why do Bookmakers Offer Limited Markets?

Betting sites may be reluctant to offer extensive odds on Olympic events for several reasons. Here are a few:

  1. Variety and Complexity of Sports: The Olympics feature a wide range of sports, many of which are not as popular or well-followed as major league sports. This variety makes it challenging for bookmakers to set accurate odds, as they may lack the necessary data and expertise for all these different events.
  2. Limited Data and Historical Performance: Many Olympic sports do not have extensive historical data or regular competitions that bookmakers can use to set odds. Without sufficient performance data and trends, it becomes difficult to create accurate and reliable betting odds.
  3. Infrequent Nature of the Event: The Olympics occur only once every four years, meaning there is less continuity and familiarity with the athletes and teams compared to annual or seasonal sports leagues. This infrequency can make it harder for bookmakers to keep up with current form and potential outcomes.
  4. Regulatory and Ethical Issues: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and various national bodies have strict regulations and codes of conduct regarding gambling to maintain the integrity of the games. These regulations can limit the types of bets that can be offered and create additional compliance challenges for betting companies.
  5. Risk of Fixing and Integrity Concerns: Given the high stakes and international exposure, there is a concern about match-fixing and integrity issues in Olympic events. Betting companies may be cautious about offering odds on events where they perceive a higher risk of manipulation or corruption.
  6. Public Interest and Demand: While the Olympics attract a global audience, the interest in betting on Olympic events might not be as high as other major sports leagues like the NFL, NBA, or Premier League. Betting companies may prioritize offering odds on events with higher betting volumes and more consistent interest from their customer base.
  7. Event-Specific Challenges: Some Olympic events, like judged sports (e.g., gymnastics, figure skating), are more subjective in nature compared to purely objective outcomes (e.g., a football match result). The subjectivity in scoring can add an additional layer of complexity in setting odds.

Overall, while betting companies do offer odds on Olympic events, the challenges and risks associated with these events often lead to a more limited offering compared to more popular and regularly occurring sports.

Most Popular Olympic Events to Bet On

People tend to bet on the most popular and widely watched sports during the Olympics, which generally include:

  1. Track and Field (Athletics): This includes high-profile events like the 100m sprint, marathon, long jump, and various relay races. These events attract significant betting interest due to their high visibility and the presence of well-known athletes.
  2. Swimming: Swimming events, particularly races involving prominent swimmers like Michael Phelps in the past or Katie Ledecky, draw a lot of betting action. Events such as the 100m freestyle, 200m butterfly, and various relays are popular.
  3. Gymnastics: Both artistic gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics attract a lot of attention, with events like the women's and men's all-around competitions, floor exercises, and apparatus finals being popular among bettors.
  4. Basketball: Olympic basketball, especially involving the USA team, garners significant interest. The tournament features many NBA stars and high-level international players, making it a focal point for betting.
  5. Soccer (Football): The men's and women's soccer tournaments are popular, with interest peaking during the knockout stages and finals.
  6. Tennis: Olympic tennis sees participation from many of the world's top players, making it a popular choice for betting. Matches involving well-known players in the singles and doubles tournaments attract considerable interest.
  7. Boxing: Olympic boxing, with its rich history and the potential for up-and-coming stars to make a name for themselves, also draws a fair amount of betting activity.
  8. Cycling: Both track cycling and road cycling events are popular. High-speed events like the sprint and the keirin on the track, as well as the road race and time trials, attract bettors.
  9. Rowing: Rowing events, particularly the single and team sculls, are popular among betting enthusiasts who follow the sport.
  10. Volleyball: Both indoor volleyball and beach volleyball attract considerable interest. The high pace and competitive nature of these sports make them appealing for bettors.

While these sports are generally the most popular for betting during the Olympics, betting interest can vary by region and the presence of local athletes competing in particular events. Additionally, the introduction of new sports and events can also capture the interest of bettors, depending on their appeal and the competitiveness of the field.

An Early Indication

I checked out several of the top online bookmakers and despite the Olympic Games being only several weeks away, there are extremely limited markets.

Paddypower had one solo individual event with odds, the Mens 100m, which is an event my former coach, Linford Christie, won at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.

Olympic 100M Betting Odds

Noah LylesUSA17/10
Letsile TebogoBOT16/5
Christian ColemanUSA4/1
Oblique SevilleJAM5/1
Akani SimbineRSA6/1
Fred KerleyUSA13/2
Last year's 100m, won by Noah Lyles