Since the economic rise of China, the Olympic performance of Chinese athletes has been improving. During 2000 Olympics in Sydney, China won 58 medals. At 2004 Athens Summer Olympics, Chinese gained 63 medals. At 2008 in Beijing the count has risen to 100.
Although sports victories are a matter of national prestige, Chinese punters can’t bet legally. This is not so surprising given that much of Asia restricts most forms of gambling. Japanese and South Korean athletes also do relatively well, but most betting forms in these countries are not permitted, which results in punters making bets under the tables or via offshore online sportsbooks as an alternative.
Even a country such as North Korea is able to gain medals (6 in Beijing and 4 so far in London). Yet, we haven’t heard of any betting in the Hermit Nation. Meanwhile, many other nations in the region don’t do so well, thus betting on Olympics doesn’t attract much attention. (India won 3 medals in Beijing, but that is very little for a nation of well over a billion people.)
Going Down Under, we enter a different world. Aussies are avid bettors and widely utilize online sportsbooks in Australia as favorite platforms. And there is much to bet on. While having only 20 million people, Australia won 49 medals in Athens and 46 medals in Beijing.
This makes it one of the most successful nations in sports. No wonder punters Down Under love to bet, while the Australian gambling laws are permissive, although lately there are attempts to limit betting on mini-events such as who will score the next goal during a football match.
Going to New Zealand, the story is similar to that of Australia. This tiny nation of only 4 million people was able to win 9 medals at Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics.
As Asian-Pacific nations continue to develop, there is likely to be more interest in sports. Opening betting venues to Asian punters can bring billions in revenues annually.