Las Vegas books shut out of Olympic betting, relic of college fight

Want to get down on the U.S.-Russia “Miracle on Ice” rematch or place a wager that the Jamaican bobsled team will win a medal at the Winter Olympics?

Bettors will have to go offshore to do so, because Nevada sports books aren’t allowed to accept wagers on Olympic events.

The regulation was passed in 2000, when the Amateur Sports Integrity Act unsuccessfully sought a betting ban on college sports, which would have been a big blow to local books.

At about the same time, the Nevada Gaming Commission eliminated a double standard by allowing betting on the state’s two colleges, UNLV and UNR.

As a result, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who championed the bill, had to settle for an Olympic betting ban.

“It was something that we knew wasn’t a significant concession because very little action was accepted on the previous Olympics,” LVH sports book director Jay Kornegay said. “But we should revisit it again. It seems to be outdated, since the rest of the world is taking wagers on the Olympics.

“In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with accepting wagers on those type of events, especially ones that have a final score or a race — basically, anything outside of a judging event.”

When betting on the Olympics was allowed before 2000, Kornegay said besides the Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding figure skating controversy, hockey and basketball games attracted the most interest.

“And it wasn’t even a significant amount of wagering,” he said. “The only inquiries that we ever receive are for the hockey games.”

As for NHL games taking a 15-day hiatus from the betting boards for the Winter Games, Kornegay isn’t concerned.

“For us, it’s a small number,” he said of the amount of money wagered on the NHL. “I don’t mind not having it on the board. It’s not going to make or break the month.”

While the Winter Games begin in earnest today in Sochi, Russia, the Olympic men’s hockey tournament doesn’t start until Wednesday, with the gold-medal game scheduled for Feb. 23.

The host Russians haven’t struck hockey gold since 1992, but handicapper Alex Smith (axsmithsports.com) said he thinks that drought will end soon. His best bet is on Russia to win the gold medal (plus-225).

“The Russians are, by far, the best of the NHL-heavy rosters,” Smith said. “They’re the home country, and they’ll be walking into packed arenas with everyone cheering for them.

“The U.S. is the only challenge they really face, and they’ve got the speed and skill advantage — and the larger ice, especially, will be a huge advantage.”

The international ice surface used at the Olympics is 15 feet wider than the ones used at NHL rinks. Smith expects Canada — the favorite, at plus-200, to win gold — and the U.S. (plus-600) to start sluggishly because of the expanded surface, travel, time difference and subpar accommodations.

“If any team settles in quicker, it will be Russia,” he said.

While NHL-leading goal scorer Alex Ovechkin and two-time NHL scoring champion Evgeni Malkin will lead Russia’s offense, Smith said he thinks goaltender Semyon Varlamov is the squad’s biggest strength.

The Colorado Avalanche netminder has been dominant in international play, going 19-3 with a 1.95 goals-against average for the Russians.

Smith’s other best bet is on the Czech Republic — led by Jaromir Jagr — to win Group C (plus-220) over Sweden, Switzerland and Latvia.

“Sweden has a lot of injuries, which is going to hurt them a lot, so I think the Czech Republic will jump in front of them to win Group C,” said Smith, who predicts the Czech Republic will win the silver medal.

Smith is picking Finland, led by Teemu Selanne, to win the bronze over Canada, which won the gold in Vancouver in 2010 when Sidney Crosby scored in overtime to beat the U.S.

Smith advises betting on two prop bets at Bovada.lv: Will Finland win a medal? (yes, plus-175), and will Canada win a medal? (no, plus-275).

The Americans, led by Patrick Kane and Zach Parise, are in Group A with Russia — who they’ll play at 7 a.m. PST on Feb. 15 — and even money to win a medal.

“They pretty much have to beat Russia,” Smith said. “I don’t see any chance of them medaling.”

As for the Jamaican bobsled team, they’re 50-1 to win a medal and plus-300 to crash the bobsled.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0354. Follow him on Twitter: @tdewey33.


Courtesy of Bovada (www.Bovada.lv; Twitter: @BovadaLV).


Norway 6/5

USA 5/2

Germany 7/1

Russia 9/1

Canada 9/1

Austria 40/1

South Korea 40/1

China 40/1

France 50/1

Sweden 50/1

Switzerland 50/1

Netherlands 100/1


USA 1/1

Norway 9/5

Germany 5/1

Russia 13/2

Canada 16/1

Austria 80/1

South Korea 80/1

China 80/1

France 100/1

Sweden 100/1

Switzerland 150/1

Netherlands 150/1


Over 10½ (-180, 5/9)

Under 10½ (+150, 3/2)


Women’s Gold Medal

Canada 5/6

USA 10/11

Finland 18/1

Russia 22/1

Sweden 25/1

Switzerland 50/1

Germany 100/1

Japan 150/1

Men’s Gold Medal

Canada 2/1

Russia 9/4

Sweden 9/2

USA 6/1

Finland 11/1

Czech Republic 12/1

Switzerland 33/1

Slovakia 40/1

Norway 200/1

Latvia 400/1

Austria 1000/1

Slovenia 1000/1

Men’s Group A Winner

Russia 1/2

USA 7/4

Slovakia 9/1

Slovenia 100/1

Will USA win a medal?

Yes EVEN (1/1)

No -130 (10/13)

Who will score more goals?

Patrick Kane (USA) 3/2

Zach Parise (USA) 9/4

Joe Pavelski (USA) 3/1

Phil Kessel (USA) 3/1

Tournament Progress for USA

Winner 6/1

Runners-up 4/1

Third Place 4/1

Fourth Place 7/2

Eliminated in quarterfinal 11/5

Eliminated in qualification playoff 12/1


Men’s Winner

Canada 2/3

Sweden 9/2

Great Britain 11/2

Norway 9/1

Switzerland 11/1

Denmark 25/1

China 33/1

Germany 50/1

USA 50/1

Russia 80/1

Women’s Winner

Canada 7/5

Sweden 15/8

Great Britain 11/4

Switzerland 14/1

USA 18/1

China 22/1

Russia 25/1

Denmark 33/1

Japan 66/1

South Korea 66/1


Men’s Slopestyle

Mark McMorris 7/2

Maxence Parrot 5/1

Roope Tonteri 9/1

Staale Sandbech 10/1

Billy Morgan 11/1

Sven Thorgen 12/1

Sage Kotsenberg 14/1

Chas Guldemond 14/1

Janne Korpi 14/1

Sebastien Toutant 14/1

Yuuki Kadono 16/1

Peetu Piiroinen 20/1

Gjemund Braaten 25/1

Seppe Smits 25/1

Jamie Nichols 30/1

Ryan Stassel 40/1

Charles Reid 40/1

Women’s Slopestyle

Jamie Anderson 5/2

Spencer O’Brien 4/1

Sarka Pancochova 5/1

Silje Norendal 5/1

Torah Bright 9/1

Christy Prior 14/1

Cheryl Maas 16/1

Jenna Blasman 16/1

Jenny Jones 16/1

Merike Enne 20/1

Shelly Gotlien 20/1

Sina Candrian 20/1

Elena Koenz 20/1

Kjersti Buaas 30/1

Isabel Derungs 30/1

Karly Shorr 30/1

Ty Walker 30/1

Stefi Luxton 40/1

Anna Gasser 40/1

Aimee Fuller 50/1

Katie Ormerod 50/1

Rebecca Torr 50/1

Men’s Halfpipe

Shaun White 2/5

Yuri Podladchikov 6/1

Danny Davis 7/1

Peetu Piirooinen 14/1

Taylor Gold 16/1

Taku Hiraoka 14/1

Nathan Johnstone 25/1

Gregory Bretz 12/1

Markus Malin 40/1

Brad Martin 66/1

Kent Callister 80/1

Scott James 50/1

Seamus O’Connor 100/1


Men’s 1,000 meters

Shani Davis 1/1

Brian Hansen 7/2

Stefan Groothuis 8/1

Tae-Bum Mo 10/1

Denis Kuzin 10/1

Jamie Gregg 12/1

Mark Tuitert 14/1

Michel Mulder 14/1

Denny Morrison 16/1

Haralds Silvos 20/1

Mitchell Whitmore 25/1

Samuel Schwartz 26/1

Zbigniew Brodka 30/1

Men’s 1,500 meters

Shani Davis 11/4

Denis Yuskov 4/1

Koen Vermeij 6/1

Brian Hansen 6/1

Ivan Skobrev 9/1

Bart Swings 12/1

Sven Kramer 12/1

Zbigniew Brodka 14/1

Joey Mantia 14/1

Denny Morrison 14/1

Havard Bokko 14/1

Mark Tuitert 16/1

Stefan Groothuis 16/1



Volosozhar/Trankov 1/2

Savchenko/Szolkowy 2/1

Pang/Tong 14/1

Duhamel/Radford 20/1

Moore-Towers/Moscovitch 33/1

Peng/Zhang 40/1

Bazarova/Larionov 50/1

Berton/Hotarek 100/1

James/Cipres 150/1

Men’s Winner

Patrick Chan 1/2

Yuzuru Hanyu 2/1

Daisuke Takahashi 11/1

Denis Ten 16/1

Javier Fernandez 22/1

Tatsuki Machida 28/1

Maxim Kovtun 33/1

Michal Brezina 33/1

Brian Joubert 50/1

Jason Brown 50/1

Yan Han 50/1

Florent Amodio 100/1

Alexander Majorov 150/1

Ice Dance Winner

Davis/White 1/2

Virtue/Moir 3/2

Ilinykh/Katsalapov 20/1

Pechelat/Bourzat 20/1

Bobrova/Soloviev 20/1

Cappellini/Lanotte 100/1

Clock/Bates 150/1

Coomes/Buckland 250/1

Carron/Jones 250/1

Paul/Islam 250/1

Women’s Winner

Yuna Kim 5/6

Mao Asada 9/4

Carolina Kostner 8/1

Julia Lipnitskaia 8/1

Kanako Murikami 12/1

Ashley Wagner 18/1

Adelina Sotnikova 20/1

Akiko Suzuki 25/1

Gracie Gold 25/1

Polina Edmunds 33/1

Li Zijun 50/1

Valentina Marchei 80/1