Iowa Introduces Official Betting

Official betting is a term front and center as sports leagues seek to establish themselves as primary stakeholders in US legal sports gambling. Having failed in their years-long attempt to stop sports betting, the leagues’ current pursuit of official data mandates supplants integrity fees as the preferred means for monetizing the new industry.

Essentially, the idea is for sports leagues to recoup their investment in data and infrastructure by requiring operators to pay them a small percentage of each wager placed on events featuring their teams. The leagues will then have an incentive to improve the quality of their data, resulting in a better product and more profitable sports betting market.

The challenge, however, is that the leagues haven’t proved that their data is worth more than unofficial or self-collected alternatives. And they’ll be hard-pressed to justify data mandates if operator and player demand for their information is strong enough.

For example, the NBA and MLB have a deal with Sportradar to provide real-time data for in-game wagers. And the PGA Tour has a similar partnership with Genius Sports for live stats. The NBA has also struck a deal with an app called BetRivers to take bets on its games.

Iowa passed and launched sports betting in 2019. Retail options were open by August 2021 and online and mobile betting began on January 1, 2023. The state allows betting on pro and collegiate games, but player prop bets are prohibited.