Legally Betting on the 2021 Olympics
If you're used to Las Vegas Olympic betting, you'll be surprised to learn that most Olympics gambling has actually taken place at overseas sportsbooks. These legal sports betting sites have been accepting Olympics bets for decades, while domestic sportsbooks in the US have only been able to take such wagers since the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Of course, legal Olympic sports betting has now become more universally available inside and outside Nevada. So while the Olympics are a huge achievement for those competing, spectators also have a shot at glory by going for a different kind of gold.
Some bettors may be able to wager with local domestic bookies, as many more states offer legal sports betting since the 2016 Olympics were contested. Still, the most popular way to enjoy legally betting on the 2021 Olympics is to wager at a trusted international sportsbook site. Read on to learn more about how to bet on the Tokyo 2021 Games.
Is it legal to bet on the Olympics?
Yes! Not only is betting on the Olympics legal, but it's also readily available. For most bettors, the easiest way to enjoy Olympic betting is via offshore sports betting sites. There are no federal gambling laws prohibiting the use of these online sportsbooks, but it should be noted that the states of Washington and Connecticut do not allow online gambling.
Online sportsbooks aren't the only option, however. Domestic sportsbook gambling is becoming more mainstream in the US, and over 20 states now have their own betting markets. Most of these allow for betting on Olympic action.
However, a few states still consider the Olympics to be an amateur tournament and disallow Olympics odds – We're looking right at you, Iowa! So if that's the case in your state, just carry your Olympic torch to one of the overseas books listed on this page, and you'll get the best Olympic betting lines anywhere.
Best Sportsbooks for Betting on the 2021 Olympics
The table below features our top recommendations for the industry's most trusted online sportsbooks offering Olympic betting odds. Each operator has been vetted by our team to ensure excellent wager selection, total legitimacy, unrivaled player safety, and rapid, guaranteed payouts. For further information about the sites listed below, check out our Sportsbook Reviews page.
How to legally bet on the Olympics online
Betting on the Olympics online is actually a pretty quick process when you use a highly reputable online sportsbook to place your wagers. For the Summer Olympics, we'd say it's faster than the 100m sprint, and for the Winter Olympics, we'd liken it to the ski jump, because you'll be flying!
In either case, the following steps will get you ready to bet on the Olympic Games with any top-rated legal online sports betting site:
- Select one or more reputable online sportsbooks listed in this guide, and follow the links provided to register for an account. This involves entering your personal information (name, address, etc), which is SSL and TLS protected. We advise signing up at multiple sportsbooks so you can quickly and easily shop lines for the best Olympics odds and payouts.
- Review the available sports betting bonus offers and promotions to see if any apply to you. You will usually find special Olympics online betting bonuses for the big event.
- Fund your account from among the available sportsbook deposit options listed in your chosen site's banking suite. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will give you the most bang for your buck and the best Olympic bonuses.
- Browse the odds boards and select the Olympic sports and outcomes you'd like to place wagers on.
- Place your bet(s) by clicking or tapping on your desired betting lines, entering the amount you wish to risk for each, and then submitting your bet slip.
- Withdraw your winnings through your sportsbook's Cashier page!
Legally Betting On The 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are being held in 2021 due to coronavirus cancellations last year, but the Games are still several months off and most countries have yet to even put their various teams together. As a result, most sportsbooks have yet to announce any betting lines or odds for the next Summer Olympics.
However, as the Opening Ceremonies for the Tokyo Olympics 2021 draw nearer, we expect to see a significant number of Olympics betting odds available. To whet your appetite, you can view the official promotional video for the 2020/2021 Tokyo Olympics.
What Olympic Sports Are Covered By Online Betting Sites?
Summer Olympic Sports
The 2021 Summer Olympics (technically the 2020 Summer Olympics) will be held in Tokyo, Japan, and will feature 339 events across 50 disciplines and 33 different sports. Depending on your online sports betting site of choice, Olympics odds should be available for most or all of these, along with live betting lines on team sports that support them.
Some of the most popular sports to bet on during the Summer Olympics include basketball, track and field races, swimming, soccer, and other sports that are more familiar to US and Western markets. Of course, part of the fun of sports betting is trying out new sports, and there's no better venue for that than the Summer Games!
Winter Olympic Sports
The Winter Olympics are "smaller" than the Summer Games, but they're arguably even more interesting. The 2022 Winter Olympics – which is the next Winter Olympics – wull be held in Beijing, China. There are scheduled to be 109 events across 15 disciplines in seven main sports. But while there are fewer sports and a smaller betting volume, many fans and bettors prefer the Winter Games simply because all the events are so unusual and uncommon.
Betting favorites during the Winter Olympics include most of the alpine events, though classics like men's and women's hockey always turn a big handle, as does the biathlon, cross-country skiing, and events like bobsleigh and the luge. However, one sport tends to get a lot of extra attention from viewers and bettors alike. Yes, curling is fast becoming the new Olympic hotness!
Legally Betting on the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics
The 2022 Winter Olympics will be held in Beijing, China, from February 4 through February 20. Despite the event taking place two years from now, some sportsbooks are already offering betting lines for some outcomes and overall medals futures.
To place legal futures bets on the Beijing Games long before the events actually get underway, your best strategy is to shop the odds among our recommended online sportsbooks to find the most favorable lines.
Olympics Prop Bets
Olympic prop bets, also known as Olympic proposition bets, are available for a variety of different sports. These are Olympic wagers placed on various in-event outcomes that usually aren't directly tied to wins and losses. Examples of Olympic prop bets might be wagers on how many silver medals France will have in 2021, how many golds an individual athlete racks up, how many goals a given soccer player will have in a game, whether or not the 100m world record will fall, and so on.
While you can expect thousands of mainline bets in the Olympics, you can expect tens of thousands of Olympic props at the best online sportsbooks. Still, you'll have to wait until just a few weeks before the Games get underway to wager on props, as these types of betting options will only surface closer to the actual games.
Olympics Betting Strategies & Tips
In most cases, the best strategies for legally betting on the Olympics are no different than those for other sports events. But while there are really no special Olympic betting tips specific to the Summer Games or Winter Games themselves, we can offer a few general tips that work for all sports gambling markets:
- Have a basic understanding of the event on which you are betting. The Olympic games include events that many people are not intimately familiar with. (This is especially true among USA bettors during the Winter Olympics.) You will always have the best chance of placing a winning bet on Olympics odds if you understand how each sport works.
- Keep your patriotism and loyalty out of the wager. Don't bet on the athletes or nations you personally connect with as a fan. While it's tempting to wager on your country and the athletes representing your homeland, that can be a costly mistake. Instead, place your bets on the athletes or teams that have the best chance at winning the event. When your country medals, that's just icing on the cake.
- Apply conservative bankroll management. There is no such thing as a sure bet. Just ask any casual or seasoned sports bettor about that. So, with that in mind, you should only risk money you can afford to lose. That's Betting 101. Then when you win, apply only a predetermined amount of those winnings back into your bankroll to support your betting entertainment. And never go all-in – make lots of small bets, as these will add up in time.
Important dates for the 2021 Olympics
The 2021 Summer Olympics will play host to 339 events over the course of two weeks. The following are the opening and closing dates of the 2021 Tokyo Games, though the schedule could see some adjustments due to COVID concerns.
- Olympic start date: July 23, 2021
- Olympic end date: August 8, 2021
How to watch the Olympics in 2021
The Tokyo 2021 Olympics will be available on NBC in the United States, which is the network known for hosting the Olympic Games over the years. Using the NBC website and Olympics app, streaming will be available 24/7, and most US residents will be able to watch the 2021 Summer Olympics for free.
However, many of the events will be on a time delay, as Tokyo is 14 hours ahead of the of the USA's Eastern Standard Time. For betting purposes, always make sure you pay attention to each event's actual local start time, not the US broadcast time.
History of the Olympics
The Olympics are among the oldest and most prestigious sporting tournaments in the world. Officially known as the Games of the I Olympiad, the first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens, Greece, in 1896. However, the Ancient Greeks held the original Olympics from 776 BCE to 393 CE. These, of course, were what we would today call the Summer Olympics.
The growth of the Olympic Games then led to the start of the Winter Olympics in 1924, which is also held every four years, but staggered from the Summer Games. Therefore, there is an Olympics every two years, with Summer and Winter games alternating. More money is bet on the Summer Olympics (which also has slightly better ratings), simply because there are so many more events and the games on offer are usually more globally accessible and common.
Olympics Informational Resources
To learn more about the Olympic Games, be sure to check out the Olympics website. You can also visit individual national teams and player resources, which is a must for anyone looking for a real Olympic betting edge.