Nevada Gaming Commission Approves Wagering on Olympic Events

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2015

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 17:  A general view of barriers displaying the Olympic rings in fog during day ten of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Laura Cross-country Ski & Biathlon Center on February 17, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Nevada Gaming Commission approved the legalization of gambling on Olympic events, which will take immediate effect, per Howard Stutz of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. According to Stutz, the commission reached the decision with a unanimous vote.

Matt Guillermo of Fox 5 in Las Vegas wrote that one of the motivations behind the move was the presence of established professional stars in the basketball and hockey competitions in the Summer and Winter Olympics, respectively.

Vegas bookmaker Jimmy Vaccaro spoke earlier in the month about how wagering on the Olympics also allows Vegas casinos to keep up with the Joneses.

LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 18:  Hotel-casinos on the Las Vegas Strip are shown before turning their exterior lights off for three minutes in memory of former UNLV head basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian after the team's game against the Boise State Broncos on
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

"Like every industry in the world, you've got to keep improving your product or you lose out in the end," he said, per NPR's Nathan Rott. "And you can bet the Olympics in the rest of the world."

Rott added that even if Olympic betting doesn't become a massive moneymaker in the way that gambling on other American sports has, it will be a boon to casinos during the summer months, when the NBA and NFL are out of season.

Before this ruling, gambling on the Olympics had been banned in the state since it was classified as an amateur sporting competition, per USA Today's Martin Rogers.

This isn't going to provide an immediate impact for Nevada casinos. The earliest Olympics aren't until the summer of 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. The Winter Olympics will follow in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

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