Phelps a Nightmare for Bookies at Summer Olympics

Written by:
Don Shapiro
Published on:
Michael Phelps

He may be a hero of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing - the guy who's taking home more gold medals than anyone else before him - but back home, Michael Phelps is proving to be a nightmare for bookmakers.

Gamblers have joined Phelps's winning streak with online betting sites reporting a spike in money riding on the U.S. swimmer and higher interest overall from gamblers in the Games, according to a Reuters report.

Phelps though has had odds so out of reach that the majority of gamblers have shied away from the bet. Still, others were willing to lay the big bucks for a nominal "but nearly guaranteed" reward.

"Although he has been at short odds to win he has being doing the right thing by the punters who are getting back more than they get on bank interest," said Phil Hannah, general manager at Australia-based online betting site SportsBet.

"He really has become a thorn in the bookmakers' side."

Most gamblers are betting Phelps will beat compatriot Mark Spitz's record of winning seven gold medals at one Olympics, with the 23-year-old already snapping up five golds from Beijing, making him the most decorated Olympian of all time with 11 golds.

BetOnline.com was also experiencing a dramatic increase in Summer Olympics betting action. They too were offering Mens swimming odds.

They were offering the following odds for Saturday's 100M Butterfly:

























With five gold medals and five world records already, Michael Phelps finally had a finals-free morning.

He merely had to get through a semifinal of the 200 individual medley, then return in the evening for the preliminaries of the 100 butterfly.

Phelps easily advanced to the 200 IM final, winning his semifinal heat in 1 minute, 57.70 seconds. Phelps' teammate and main rival, Ryan Lochte, won his heat in 1:57.69, making him the top qualifier, with Phelps second overall. They will swim the final Friday morning.

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