Business

Betting on London

BY JULIAN RICHARDSON Assistant Business Co-ordinator richardsonj@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 25, 2012    

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A bet on Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell to win the 100-metre final at the 2012 London Olympics could earn thirty times your money.

Jamaicans could also hedge their sentiments with the chance to collect 15-times their investment on a wager that the country's track and field team will perform below expectations, winning nine or less medals.

Local gaming company Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL), through its sports betting brand JustBet, released the odds for several contests at the highly anticipated championships this week, just days before the opening ceremony on Friday.

Powell is listed at odds of 30.00 (or 29/1) in the blue ribbon event, the Men's 100m, with world record holder and defending champion Usain Bolt the favourite at odds of 1.55 (or 11/20). The second most favoured runner in the race is world champion Yohan Blake at odds of 2.75 (or 7/4). Tyson Gay has odds of 15.00 (or 14/1), while fellow American Justin Gatlin is at odds of 25.00 (or 24/1).

SVL expects to lure more revenues from the London Olympics than the 2010 World Cup, which quadrupled regular monthly sales. Already, the company has received an influx of wagers for the "marquee" Men's 100m event, said Andrei Roper, SVL's senior marketing officer.

"Bearing in mind that persons have been asking about these (particular) odds since the start of the track and field season, we expected that the wagers would have been coming in right away and would be tremendous," said Roper, noting that SVL expects a "big increase" compared to betting revenues for the 100-metre final at last year's IAAF World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea.

Bolt is also favoured to win the Men's 200m at odds of 1.40 (or 2/5), followed by Blake at odds of 2.90 (or 19/10) and American Wallace Spearmon at odds of 18.00 (or 17/1).

Defending champion and Jamaica's national record holder Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is the favourite in the Women's 100m at odds of 2.40 (or 7/5), while world champion Carmelita Jeter from America is next at odds of 3.25 (or 9/4). Veronica Campbell Brown is listed at odds of 6.00 (or 5/1), followed by Nigerian Blessing Okagbare at odds of 9.00 (or 8/1), Allyson Felix at odds of 12.00 (or 11/1), Kelly-Ann Baptiste at odds of 20.00 (or 19/1) and Kerron Stewart at odds of 40.00 (or 39/1).

But despite claiming the sprint double at the 2012 Jamaican Trials, Fraser-Pryce is tied with American runner Sanya Richards-Ross with only the fourth most favourable odds of 9.00 (or 8/1) to win the Women's 200m. Felix, the four time World Champion in the event, is the favourite to win Gold at odds of 1.55 (or 11/20), followed by Jeter and defending Olympic champion Campbell Brown, both at odds of 7.50 (and 13/2).

The women sprint races have also generated a lot of interest, Roper told the Jamaica Observer.

"We expect great responses from those events, especially the women's 100m in light of what happened at (the Jamaican) Trials," he said

JustBet also released odds in a variety of other Olympic sports, including football and basketball.

Brazil, despite having never won a men's Olympic Gold medal in football, is favoured to win at odds of 2.40 (or 7/5), followed by European and World Cup champions Spain at odds of 3.25 (or 9/4). Other favourites are Uruguay at odds of 6.50 (or 11/2), Great Britain at odds of 10.00 (or 9/1), Switzerland at odds of 12.00 (or 11/1) and Mexico at odds of 15.00 (or 14/1), the betting company said.

The USA men's basketball team, popularly known as the Dream Team, are huge favourites to defend their Olympic title at odds of 1.15 (or 3/20). Spain follows at odds of 5.00 (or 4/1), followed by 2004 Gold medallists Argentina, France and Russia, each at odds of 25.00 (or 24/1).

The odds for Jamaica winning zero to nine total medals is 15.00 (or 14/1); 10 to 12 medals at odds of 2.70 (or 17/10) and 13 to 15 medals at odds of 2.10 (or 11/10). The country favoured to win most medals at the games is the USA at odds of 1.25 (or 1/4), followed by China at odds of 3.60 (or 13/5). The country favoured to win most Gold medals is again the USA at odds of 1.55 (or 11/20), followed by China at odds of 2.30 (or 13/10).

It is unclear how much money the Jamaican gambling industry expects to handle during the July 27-August 2012 competition. But gambling houses worldwide are anticipating huge revenues from Olympic betting, especially in the host country. The British betting industry, worth US$9 billion ($794 billion) a year, one of the biggest in the world, expects to attract a record US$155 million in wagers during the competition, reported the Associated Press.

London betting houses will reportedly offer odds on almost anything, including the outlandish. British bookmaker Ladbrokes, for instance, will offer 11,000 different wagers during the games, including that the Olympics will be over budget, that a British athlete will be photographed eating a McDonald's Big Mac, or that the athletes village in Olympic Park will run out of condoms.

William Hill, reported the AP, offers perhaps the longest odds of the games: 1,000-to-1 that a flying saucer will appear over Olympic Stadium during Friday's opening ceremony.

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