Paris Olympic Games Expected To See Record Volumes of Bets as America Loosens Gambling Restrictions

Thirty states, most recently New York and Massachusetts, have legalized online betting platforms.

AP/Wayne Parry
A sports book clerk counts money. AP/Wayne Parry

As anticipation builds for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, online gambling platforms are gearing up for a betting boom. 

The quadrennial athletic festival, set to kick off on July 26, marks the first Olympic games since gambling became widely legalized across the United States. 

Thanks to a 2018 Supreme Court Ruling in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, which deemed a measure prohibiting states from legalizing gambling on professional and college sports to be unconstitutional, sports gambling restrictions have loosened in recent years. 

The Tokyo Olympics back in 2020 saw a bump in online betting as a result. But given that the timing of the games was disrupted by the pandemic, viewership was lower than usual. 

Since then, state-by-state measures to loosen restrictions have only continued to be rolled out, with New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Ohio legalizing sports betting. 

Currently, 39 states allow some form of sports gambling, with 30 authorizing such betting on online platforms. 

According to the American Gaming Association, the number of Americans who are able to place a bet has risen to 164 million this year, a figure much higher than the 97 million back in 2021. 

Further, the time difference between America and Paris — six hours — pales in comparison with the 13-hour gap between America and Tokyo, setting the stage for more widespread watching. 

NBC’s Peacock streaming service will also offer coverage of the games, providing the most comprehensive streaming program of the Olympics in American media history. 

The spike in viewership, “lends itself to higher engagement” in betting activity, online betting platform Bookies.com notes

“The Olympics and gambling, for decades, have looked at each other from afar. This year we’ll see them meld together,” the group adds. 

Betting companies are particularly incentivized to capture users during the Olympics given that the summer months — in which the NFL, NBA, and NHL are in the offseason — tend to be slower for online waging platforms. 

This will likely drive online betting platforms to further promote betting activity for this years’ Olympics. 

The largest betting attraction, Bookies.com suggests, is the American men’s basketball team, given Team USA’s historical dominance in the sport. 

American patriotism will also serve as a major draw for online betters. 

“Patriotism is No. 1 in the Olympics, and bettors love to back their country’s heroes no matter the event,” head of sportsbook at Rush Street Tim Whitehead told CNBC. 

Further, given America’s melting-pot quality, multicultural viewers are also likely to wage bets on teams or players from other countries. 

“For example, you might see an influx in bet volume from New York and New Jersey if an Eastern European country or Italy is playing,” executive president at Gambling.com Group, Max Bichsel, told CNBC. 

However, as rules have been loosened and online platforms have made gambling more accessible to the public, betting addictions in America have been on the rise. 

Gambling addiction hotlines have reported higher volumes in callers, with more and more young people taking on problematic gaming habits.  

“We believe, nationwide, the rate and severity of gambling problems have increased across the United States since 2018,” executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, Keith Whyte, said. The group operates the helpline 1-800-GAMBLER. 

“We have every reason to believe the growth of online sports betting is a major contributing factor to the increase in gambling problems,” he added. 


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