by Renee Israel
UK bookmakers are rushing to update odds and open markets on the biggest
sporting event this year - the Olympic Games.
With the London Games officially opening this week, bookies are expecting a
betting bonanza, with analysts predicting that close to £50 million will be
wagered by keen sports punters in the United Kingdom.
In the grand scheme of things, the Olympics don't usually attract massive
betting action, however there are several reasons why things will be different
this time around.
For starters, the fact that the Games are being held in the capital means
that punters are generally keen to show their patriotism and become part of the
action in one way or another. There is no better way to show support for Team GB
than by betting on their performance in the games.
The other reason is that the Olympics have been covered to such a huge extent
in the media that UK bookies are riding on the wave of Olympics fever and
opening markets at an incredible pace.
Betting Markets on 36 Sports
According to an article about Olympic betting at UK bookies in The
Independent, this is the first time that bookmakers are offering prices on
all 36 sports, including cycling.
An industry insider is quoted as saying: "Betting parlance has become
inexorably woven into the media coverage of all sports - the Olympics will be no
"When you add this to the boom in mobile betting and the fact that London
2012 will be the first every Olympics to offer public Wi-Fi access, the scope
for spectators to have a bet on anything from the 100 m final to the taekwondo
heats will be like never before," he added.
Olympic Odds Vary at Bookmakers
A quick look at the odds available at bookmakers shows that odds on the same
markets vary, depending on the target market. For example, no other bookmaker
besides the Irish bookie, Paddy Power is offering odds on Team Ireland's chances
of winning gold medals at the Olympics.
Most bookies, however, have odds on China, Russia, Germany, UK and the US -
the traditional big winners of gold medals at all Olympics.
Punters are urged to shop around for the best odds at bookmaker sites, such
as Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, William Hill and others to find their favourite
markets and get into the action of London 2012 in the most rewarding way