Australia, Olympics and Betting Records Broken

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(AAP) Australian punters look set to break an Olympic record of their own, with betting agencies reporting larger than anticipated interest in the Games.

TAB Sportsbet had anticipated holding about $13.5 million over the 16 days of competition in Beijing, but only two days into the event it now seems likely to surpass that mark.

Australians punted about $80,000 on today's 400m men's freestyle swimming final, in which Grant Hackett finished sixth behind young South Korean star Park Tae Hwan.

About $400,000 has already been laid on the men's football competition which is still in the group stages.

"The way it's going, I think we'll definitely top what we took last Games," said Sportsbet spokesman Matt Jenkins.

"It's pretty much spread across the sports. It's good starting with the swimming, we've got a lot of gold medal chances in the pool."

Lasseters Sportsbook said interest in the days leading up to the Olympics had been slow but since the opening ceremony on Friday night there had been a flourish of betting.

Lasseters spokesman Gerard Daffy said betting on Australian football codes had slowed down in the past few days since the Olympics began.

"Once they start, Aussie punters go into a bit of a frenzy because they are just given so much information," said Mr Daffy.

"Of course in this day and age you can see so much and evaluate it for yourself.

"Football betting has slowed right down since the Olympics started."

Mr Daffy said as the Australians began winning more and more gold medals the interest would only increase.

He said it would also be helped by the fact Beijing was only two hours behind Australia's east-coast.

"From a global bookmakers' point of view it doesn't really make it too good for business because the time zones are bad for practically most of the world," Mr Daffy said.

"But it's great for this side of the world."

Bet on the 2008 Summer Olympics at Sportingbet.com Australian Dollar Welcome!

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