Official Betting Becomes Front and Center in Sports Gambling Debates

Official betting, the term referring to wagers placed on pro, college and amateur sports, is becoming front and center in legal US sports gambling debates. Leagues are seeking a role as primary stakeholders in the industry and are intent on profiting from sports betting, ideally through a direct cut of total handle. But short of that, they’re pursuing a mechanism allowing them to monetize their data. The quest for official data mandates has supplanted the integrity fee as leagues’ preferred method to shape state and federal sports betting policy.

Sportsbook operators and bettors will ultimately dictate how valuable the official data is, but as the debate over mandates continues, it’s clear that the industry isn’t buying the leagues’ argument that forcing them to pay for data guarantees integrity in legal sports wagering. The utility and reliability of the data remains in question, and mandating its use would give one company what amounts to a monopoly on the most critical information in the industry.

The NHL’s rules against gambling are spelled out in its collective bargaining agreement and posted on dugout walls. Players and those who work for the league are prohibited from placing bets on NHL games and, if they do so at team or league facilities, face up to a year in suspension. The league also partners with regulators, sportsbooks and independent integrity firms to monitor and track betting activity.

Isaiah Rodgers, Rashod Berry and the former Detroit Lions’ Quintez Cephus are among those to be suspended for up to a year after violating NFL betting rules. The NFL and other pro sports leagues are stepping into the legal betting space by beefing up in-house technology, hiring security personnel and partnering with integrity monitors and sportsbooks to ensure compliance with their rules.