Vegas is accepting bets on the Olympics this summer for the first time. (John Locher/AP)

Amateurism in elite sports is dead — let’s gamble

The Olympics aren’t what they used to be: Most notably, the defining tenet of “amateurism.”

And that’s not a bad thing. Olympic athletes from other countries will receive fair wages, and American competitors will earn money through endorsements.

What it adds up to is the unceremonious death of high-level amateur sports.

(Sure, there’s the NCAA, where fat cats reap enormous profits off the unpaid labor of “student-athletes.” But any notion that those games are “amateurish” are driven solely by lawyers protecting a billion-dollar industry.)

To match its new reality, Las Vegas sports books will accept wagers on the Games this year.

“The purity of the Olympic movement was lost years ago when the International Olympic Committee removed any distinction between amateurism and professionalism,” said Stephen Mosher, a sports ethics and character development professor at Ithaca College in New York to the Los Angeles Times. “Only in the U.S. does a portion of the population actually believe in what even the IOC calls this ‘magic dust.’”

It seems like a good year to ditch all of the fairy tales in our lives. So, let’s treat all sports equally. Meaning, let’s bet on them — responsibly, of course.

Here are some lines concerning “amateur sports” worth tracking (courtesy William Hill):

Country to win most gold medals:

United States — -500

China — 5/2

Great Britain — 20/1

Russia — 50/1

Germany — 60/1

Field — 50/1

Total gold medals: USA

Over 41.5 — -110

Under 41.5 — -110

To win Pac-12 football championship:

Stanford — 3/1

USC — 3/1

Washington — 7/2

UCLA — 4/1

Oregon — 6/1

Utah — 12/1

Washington State — 15/1

Arizona State — 25/1

Arizona — 25/1

Cal — 40/1

Oregon State — 100/1

Colorado — 100/1

gamblingjacob c. palmerNCAAOlympic GamesOlympicsstephen mosher

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