NZ bodies not banking on betting windfalls

TOBY ROBSON
Last updated 05:00 26/07/2012
Stuart Farquhar
SHANE WENZLICK/Fairfax NZ
TAKING A PUNT: New Zealanders may be betting on the Olympics but national sports bodies are not expecting a financial windfall from the TAB's profits.

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An expected surge in betting on the London Olympics hasn't convinced New Zealand sporting bosses they will see any post-Games financial windfalls.

The TAB are taking bets on the Games for just the second time and say early interest suggests punters will invest heavily in sports like rowing, athletics and triathlon in coming weeks.

Kiwis were quick to back their team to win a combined 11 medals or more in London, forcing the betting agency to slash the odds from $10 to $5.50.

And TAB head bookie Mark Stafford said yesterday interest continued to build, particularly in the sports in which New Zealand were medal hopes.

"As an example, of the total on all Olympic betting so far, 70 per cent of it has been on the single scull where Mahe Drysdale is an obvious medal hopeful," Stafford said.

With the TAB taking bets on nearly every sport in London, Stafford said it was already clear that turnover would far exceed the take for Beijing four years ago.

That's potentially good news for some New Zealand sporting bodies, who receive 1 per cent of turnover and 5 per cent of profit. Betting on global sports like basketball, golf, and tennis provide regular earnings for the code's national bodies in New Zealand.

However, while New Zealand Football is understood to have pocketed $500,000 after the 2010 World Cup, such windfalls are improbable after the Olympics.

Athletics New Zealand chief executive Scott Newman laughed yesterday as he recalled the cheque that arrived in the mail after Beijing.

"The last Olympics we picked up about $500, so it's not a major . . . to be honest I haven't considered it and we haven't budgeted any revenue from the TAB this year. Generally the amount of betting on track and field is not significant enough to concern us."

There were similar sentiments at Rowing New Zealand's headquarters, where Simon Peterson said the sport had received $2400 from sports betting over the past three years. "We don't encourage gambling, but if there is a run on rowing and we get some benefit that's great, but we'll gladly take gold medals first," he said, before asking what the odds were on Drysdale winning his event.

Stafford said the best financial result for the sporting bodies was if there were upsets in the major events.

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