On Friday, July 27th, the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games will take place in London. Sports fans from around the world will descend on London to view their favorite sporting events. Earlier in the year, a betting summit was held between representatives of the sports betting industry in the UK and officials of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games. The purpose of the summit was to find ways to deal with the illegal sports betting that some believe will take place during this summer’s Olympic Games. Ladbrokes executive Mike O’Kane chaired the event. O’Kane told reporters: “When sport is corrupted, and betting used to profit from that corruption, it impacts sport and the legitimate betting industry alike. Punters always want to know they’re getting a fair bet on their chosen sport. Although the real risk lies within illegal betting markets, the regulated industry still has a role to play in assisting the authorities to understand and combat this problem.”
Every athlete and team official at the games will have to sign onto a blanket betting ban during the games. Any inappropriate betting during the games will result in immediate expulsion from the games. No athlete can bet on any sports. The agreement states a code of ethics and includes the clause, “All forms of participation in, or support for, betting [activity] related to the Olympic Games, and all forms of promotion of betting related to the Olympic Games, are prohibited.” Officials say the illegal betting market generates hundreds of billions of pounds annually, and the International Olympic Committee is going to great lengths to prevent events from being fixed. Sports betting is perfectly legal in the United Kingdom, and is considered a legitimate part of the national economy. Sportsbooks have partnered with government officials to report and prevent any event fixing. The BBC reported that Olympic organizers have set up an intelligence team to monitor suspicious betting patterns and share intelligence on those that attempt to fix Olympic events.
Sports fans will still be able to bet on the games through licensed bookmakers in the UK. Many
bookmakers are already publishing betting guides for the games and are also listing odds. Bettors will also be able to place bets online during the games. The whole gambling industry in the UK is getting ready for the games. Online bingo sites like BingoHouse are planning many Olympic themed promotions and special games. Online casinos and poker sites are also planning Olympic specials. Most are expected to offer players unique bonuses and a huge variety of promotions. Unfortunately some industry observers say that player numbers could be lower than usual due to people watching the games during their leisure hours. There is the possibility that some ‘Olympics widows’ will turn to online bingo for solace
and entertainment as their husbands and boyfriends remained glued to the television screen.