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Nevada Regulators to Allow Betting on Olympics

FILE - Odds are displayed on a screen at a sports book owned and operated by CG Technology in Las Vegas, Jan. 14, 2015.

The Olympic Games' motto, "Faster, higher, stronger," can now grow by one word in the U.S. market: "richer."

The gaming commission in the U.S. state of Nevada has unanimously approved betting on the Olympics in Las Vegas, the country's gambling capital.

Although betting on the Olympics is legal in several other nations, it has been discouraged in the U.S. because the Games have always been regarded as a showcase for the world's greatest amateur athletes. But professionals now compete in virtually every sport.

Nevada officials say that betting will not affect the integrity of the Games and that bookmakers will be on the lookout for what they call "unnatural money."

"You're not going to be able to walk up to a window and bet $200,000 on USA to beat Bulgaria," bookmaker Jimmy Vaccaro told Around the Rings, an Olympics news website.

The commission has yet to decide how or whether to take wagers on such sports as figure skating, in which judges decide the winners.

Within moments of the gaming commission's approval Thursday, the William Hill bookmakers posted odds for next year's Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

It said the U.S. was the favorite to win the most gold medals; Jamaican runner Usain Bolt should win his third straight men's 100 meters; Brazil will take the gold in men's soccer; and the golds in singles tennis will go to Serbia's Novak Djokovic and the United States' Serena Williams.