Olympics May Attract 20 Million US Bettors, Odds Shorten on Games Being Canceled

Posted on: July 21, 2021, 02:02h. 

Last updated on: July 21, 2021, 02:47h.

The Summer Olympics are set to officially run July 23 through August 8. The American Gaming Association (AGA) says roughly 20 million Americans will place a wager on the games — some on the possibility of cancellation.

Olympics odds US medal count
Not everyone in Japan is as excited as this person regarding the upcoming Summer Olympics. Some 20 million Americans are expected to place a bet on the international sporting spectacle. (Image: AFP)

The AGA, the chief lobbying firm in DC working on behalf of gaming interests, contracted Morning Consult to poll US residents regarding their betting activities surrounding the Tokyo Olympics. Among a sample of 2,200 adults, eight percent said they plan to place a financial wager on a sport. 

With the latest census information claiming there are around 252 million adults in the US, that equates to 20.1 million Americans who are likely to bet on the Summer Olympics. Among those planning to bet, 45 percent say they will make at least one wager on basketball. Thirty-four percent plan to gamble on soccer, 28 percent on gymnastics, and 27 percent on track and field and swimming.

More than one in two US adults answered that they’re interested in watching the Tokyo Olympics. A quarter said they’re “very interested.”

Of those betting, 47 percent say they will do so casually among friends. Forty-three percent plan to wager online, and 16 percent with a physical sportsbook. Another 13 percent will facilitate their stake through an illegal bookie. 

Cancellation Odds 

Japan, and specifically Tokyo, is dealing with a surge in new COVID-19 cases. The delta variant, a more contagious strain of the coronavirus, is wreaking havoc on the Asian nation.

That’s led to many in the capital city and throughout the country calling on Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to cancel the games. The possible last-minute decision is gaining plenty of action among sports bettors.

Sportsbooks just last week had odds on the 2021 Summer Olympics being called off at around +9000. Those long odds, which implies a chance of 1.1 percent, have since been greatly reduced following a rush of money on the line.

The odds are now at around +1000 — an implied chance of nine percent. A $100 bet and the Olympics being canned would still net $1,000. 

Toshiro Muto, head of Tokyo’s Olympic organizing committee, said yesterday that the Summer Games could still be canceled because of COVID-19.

We can’t predict what will happen with the number of coronavirus cases,” Muto explained. “So, we will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases. 

“We have agreed that, based on the coronavirus situation, we will convene talks again. At this point, the coronavirus cases may rise or fall, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises,” Muto added.

Gold USA Odds 

Oddsmakers believe the United States winning the most Olympic medals is about as safe of a bet as one can make. 

Odds are as short as 1/12 that Team USA will depart Tokyo with the most hardware. On those odds, to win $100, a bettor must stake $1,200.

The US women’s soccer team, however, the favorite at +110 to win gold, lost its Olympic opener today 3-0 to Sweden. The women’s club was unbeaten in its 44 previous matches.