Rio Olympics New Las Vegas Betting Target: Signaling American Acceptance of Olympic Impurity?

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing impact gambling has had on the Olympics and on the many ways in which those involved have tried to keep the games pure and free of gambling corruption allegations. In a year when the Olympics host site has come under such unbelievable scrutiny and major doping allegations and infractions by the Russians have grabbed the headlines, perhaps its fitting that Las Vegas is officially saying goodbye to the long standing policy of banning betting on the Olympics. The Internationals Olympic Committee clearly doesn’t have the jurisdiction to prevent betting in various locations, but the industries own guidelines have given way to those looking to cash in on this year’s games.   Initially they banned the practice when Vegas sport books’ impact on College sports was brought to the spotlight by Sen. John McCain. However, after the London Olympics were bet on by sports books in England, Las Vegas took note. The LA times expresses why they believe a key vestige of sports purity has now been lost: 

The long, slow erosion of the Olympics’ claim to sporting purity has reached a new landmark. The Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro will be gambled on inside Nevada sports books.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board, acting on the interests of race and sports book directors in the state, agreed last year to allow bettors to wager on Olympic events for the first time since the practice was forbidden in 2001. Asked if the world should pause to mourn the lost innocence once associated with the Games, the head of Las Vegas’ powerful Westgate Superbook saw no reason to shed a tear.

“‘Used to be’ is exactly right, because almost everyone in the Olympics is getting paid now,” Jay Kornegay said. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. The Kenyans in the marathon, the Russians — they get paid. Our athletes get endorsements. There are very few amateurs left.”

Some view the emergence of gambling this loss of purity as something the IOC brought on itself and that its just American’s that are holding onto the idea of the Olympics as pure form of international sports competition. The LA Times concludes: 

Stephen Mosher, a sports ethics and character development professor at Ithaca College in New York, said it is “not surprising to hear that Vegas is taking bets on Olympics. “The purity of the Olympic movement was lost years ago when the International Olympic Committee removed any distinction between amateurism and professionalism. Only in the U.S. does a portion of the population actually believe in what even the IOC calls this ‘magic dust.’”

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