Official betting is the term used to describe betting on a sport or event with the intent of winning a prize, prize money or other form of profit. It is an emerging policy issue in the US as state governments and federal lawmakers consider legal sports betting.
As a result, the term has become a political minefield. The US sports leagues have emerged as primary stakeholders in the conversation, seeking a way to control data flow while monetizing it through a direct share of bettors’ losses.
In a quest to become the dominant players in the US sports betting industry, leagues are pushing to include official data as one of the first requirements in new state and federal laws. The battle for control over this information has led to several legislative wrangles, culminating in states like Tennessee and Illinois mandating that licensed operators purchase official league data as the sole source of live betting data.
A lawmaker in Washington DC seeks to strike a compromise: he proposes to trade an integrity fee for the use of official league data. This proposal is met with stiff resistance from the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball, who have largely opposed gambling in their sports.
The leagues have fought hard to secure the right to control their own data flow and define terms in US betting laws, with the NBA asking regulators to include official data during public comment periods. They also have forged partnerships with a few key providers of real-time sports data, such as Sportradar and Genius Sports.
These deals have expanded alongside the rise of online sports betting in the US. However, the emergence of live in-play wagering has brought new questions to the table about whether official league data is a good choice for a sports betting product.
As a result, many states are considering dividing wagers into distinct tiers for the purposes of data, requiring further legal clarification. A tier 1 wager includes a bet on the final score or total outcome of a sporting event. A tier 2 wager includes a bet on other aspects of the game.
The two main US sports leagues, the NFL and NBA, have forged deals with both companies, while other major leagues such as the National Hockey League have not done so yet. A league-operated online betting platform in Nevada, for example, is backed by MGM Resorts International and features official league data feeds.
Those in the sports betting industry believe that a unified feed of official data is the best way to deliver accurate and up-to-date data. This allows for a faster, more accurate betting experience that can improve a customer’s odds of winning.
It also makes it easier for bookmakers to develop and test new wagering products. The ability to test a new betting product before it launches is essential for ensuring that it delivers a high-quality customer experience.
The NCAA, the PGA Tour and other professional sports have also entered into data agreements with either Sportradar or Genius Sports to provide live stats. It is a competitive marketplace, and each of these organizations will want to prove the value of their data before they commit to providing it to licensed sportsbooks.