by Renee Israel
With millions expected to bet on the Olympics, bookies will be extra
vigilant when it comes to suspicious betting patterns, it was revealed by at
least two online gambling groups this week.
Both William Hill and Ladbrokes spoke about their expectations for the London
Games, where the industry is expected to handle £100 million in wagers during
the competition which begins tonight and ends on August 12th.
The President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge has
repeatedly said that illegal betting and match fixing could threaten the very
integrity of the London Games, and bookmakers have promised to do their bit to
try and avoid these activities.
According to the spokesman for bookmaker William Hill, Joe Crilly, the UK
betting industry is heavily regulated and all suspicious activity is immediately
reported to the Gambling Commission.
"We have a lot of strict regulations to guard against any funny business," he
said. "If we were to see an unusually large bet for a sport we were not
particularly expecting large amounts of money for, it would flash up. If there
was any suggestion that it was suspicious, we would get the authorities
Big Bets on London Olympics
Nevertheless, bookies know that some Olympic events are sure to attract big
bets, without them being 'suspicious' in nature.
It is expected that the most heavily wagered event during the games will be
the 100 meter dash, with the Jamaican Usain Bolt hoping to defend his title.
Bolt is bookie favourite to win the event, despite the fact that he was beaten
in the trial run ups by fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake.
UK punters will also be heavily backing events where members of Team GB
features prominently. The women's heptathlon is a popular event to book on,
where home grown athlete Jessica Ennis is going for gold.
11,000 Olympic Wagers on Offer
Ladbrokes, the leading British bookmaker, said that it would be offering
11,000 different wagers during the Olympics, ranging from outright winners of
particular events to the more obscure such as whether or not a British athlete
will be photographed eating a Big Mac.
"We try to cater to most people's tastes," added Crilly for William Hill, who
also encouraged gamblers to contact them if they were interested in opening a
William Hill may have some of the weirdest bets on the books, including odds
of 1000-to-1 that a flying saucer will appear over the Olympic Stadium tonight,
and 33-to-one that London mayor Boris Johnson lights his hair on fire with the