The Issue of Official Betting

As sports betting takes hold across the US, the issue of official betting is coming into focus. The question of whether leagues should be able to dictate data flow is a key one, and the answer could decide how legal sports betting unfolds.

After the Supreme Court struck down PASPA, many states began to pass sports betting laws. Among them, Illinois and Tennessee have mandates that require sportsbooks to use official league data for Tier 2 wagers. This refers to any wager that is not tied directly to the final score or outcome of a game.

In other words, bets on things like the number of yards a player will throw or the first team to score are considered Tier 2. But those bets are still subject to a host of rules and restrictions that are different from those for regular, money-line bets.

Those regulations also include the fact that players, umpires and other officials cannot place bets on any games in which they have a duty to perform. If they do, they risk being permanently banned from the sport and barred from entry into the Hall of Fame.

Those penalties are far more severe than what the NFL and NBA have faced with their own betting deals. The NHL was the first major league to sign up for sports betting when it opened its Vegas franchise in 2017. The Golden Knights have sponsorships with William Hill and MGM Resorts International that include access to their own data feed. Similarly, the NHL has partnered with FanDuel, DraftKings and Caesars Entertainment to offer in-game betting.