Czechs expected to bet hundreds of millions of crowns on Olympic Games

Photo: Filip Jandourek, Czech Radio

The Summer Olympic Games in Rio kick off this coming Friday and, Czech Radio reports, for many Czechs the Games – with the motto of Stronger, Faster, Higher – will represent more than the Olympic spirit but a chance to bet, and with a little luck, turn a profit. According to the broadcaster, citing bookmakers, during the course of the games Czechs are likely to bet hundreds of millions of crowns.

Photo: Filip Jandourek, Czech Radio
Which events have so far drawn the most punters? Team sports. One bettor explained why:

“I’m ready to bet on basketball, football and tennis, not really so much based on existing odds as how things go from match to match.”

Another told Czech Radio he was specifically targeting individual sports such as judo and taekwondo, but betting a minimum of 1,000 crowns. However, higher bets are not necessarily the most common, Václav Sochor of the Chance betting agency confirmed.

Václav Sochor, photo: Khalil Baalbaki
“Most people bet small amounts. After all, the Games haven’t yet begun and anything can change in terms of team rosters or athletes’ health. I think the number of people who bet 20 or 50 crowns will be in the majority. On the other hand, we also have a large group of bettors who place bets in the tens of thousands but on low odds, what they see as ‘safe’.”

Already, the agency has accepted bets worth six million crowns; and while that number is certain to rise, most expect that betting on the Summer Games will still finish third – behind both the Ice Hockey World Championship in Russia in May and the recently ended European football championship in France. During Euro 2016, Czechs bet almost two billion crowns. Jiří Hadrava is the spokesman for Tipsport.

Barbora Špotáková, photo: Ludovic Péron, CC BY 3.0
“The Olympic Games will not be the top betting event of the year – that was Euro 2016. On the other hand even though we are still waiting for the big boom to begin, we are already taking bets worth a total of around one million crowns a day regarding the games. We expect that betting levels should match the record set by the winter games in Sochi. Then, our firm accepted bets worth a total of 350 million crowns.”

A similar sum was touted by the Fortuna betting agency. In all, it is expected that Czechs could bet up to one billion.

Among Czech athletes who are considered favourites? Javelin champion Barbora Špotaková, the spokeswoman for Sazka Veronika Marková confirmed. Roughly half who have bet so far bet that she would clinch a medal and half, gold. Bookmakers expect that Czech Olympians could clinch a maximum of eight medals in Rio. The games begin on August 5 and end on August 21.