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Image for Mike Lukas Mike Lukas - Updated October 14, 2022

Is it Legal to Place Wagers on Summer Olympics? You Bet!

Wagers Summer Olympics
  • It is Now Legal to Place Wagers on the Summer Olympics
  • Olympic Sports Betting Legal in Many States, Yet Not These Two
  • Despite Time Difference, Olympic Sports Bets Should Not Be Affected

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Now that sports betting is legal in an ever-growing list of states, Olympic wagers have become all the gambling rage, with many sportsbooks offering odds on most events including some interesting prop bets and futures.

The 2020 Olympic games were delayed due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic and, despite some calls to cancel them altogether, the opening ceremonies will begin in Tokyo on July 23 at 7 a.m. ET.

This gives sports bettors one last week to educate themselves on which wagers are the juiciest and which ones to avoid for right now, a critical step since many of the Olympic wagers placed end up being “uneducated,” meaning made without fully understanding the sport or the athlete.

But even if it’s legal to sports bet in your state, don’t assume that they will have Olympic lines available since a couple of states are still holding out on letting their citizens gamble on these upcoming summer games.

Most states where sports betting is legal will offer some type of Olympic wagers for bettors to consider, so if you live in any of the bigger markets – Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee – check whatever sportsbooks they use for the latest Olympic odds.

If you live in either Virginia or Illinois, however, you may not be so lucky.

Despite sports betting being legal in both of those states, neither Virginia nor Illinois is currently offering Olympic lines, each for different reasons.

In Illinois, the state failed to include Olympics as part of its sports betting bill, so for that to change it would be a matter of adding the games to the list of approved events, a shift that has yet to occur but still could, especially given a growing excitement surrounding this event.

For those punters who live in Virginia, however, odds on the Olympics are not being offered because underage athletes are competing, so concerns about fraud and integrity are being raised despite an overall agreement to keep sportsbooks from offering wagers that include minors.

Despite Time Difference, Olympic Sports Bets Should Not Be Affected

With Tokyo, Japan being 13 hours ahead of New York, sportsbooks will have to be careful about when they release their odds and bettors will have to be mindful about how and where they place their bets.

Gamblers in those states that offer online sports betting will not have to be as concerned about this time difference since no matter where they are sitting, they will have the most recent information available to them via an app.

Bill Knauf, the VP of Operations at Monmouth Park Casino, told the press:

If you want some [Olympic] action or entertainment, you’re probably gonna place the bet well before it goes on. I don’t think it’s the type of wagering you wait until the last minute to place.

The most popular events tend to be swimming, gymnastics, and track and field, but for complete fun, make sure to also check out the table tennis odds and the silly prop bets surrounding the Olympic torch – all bets are on starting next Friday.

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Mike Lukas

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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]

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