Official betting is legal sports wagering on real-time events regulated by states and available at licensed sportsbooks. It includes a wide variety of wagers involving football, basketball, baseball, and hockey, as well as more specialized bets like player props and totalizators. In totalizators, the odds change in real-time based on how much of the overall exchange each outcome has received relative to its return rate (the house’s profit margin). The higher the volume of bets placed on a particular result, the lower the odds will be.
There are also rules that prohibit players, coaches, and officials from accepting bribes to fix games, or even offering them. The MLB’s code of conduct states that “any player, umpire, club or league official or employee who accepts a bet on a game in which he participates or could affect the outcome shall be declared permanently ineligible for baseball.” One of the most famous instances of this was when professional gambler Joseph Sullivan paid eight members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox (Oscar Felsch, Arnold Gandil, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Fred McMullin, Charles Risberg, George Weaver, and Claude Williams) around $10,000 each to lose the World Series.
Sports betting in California is not yet legal, although several bills have been introduced in recent years. There were two major propositions on the November 2022 ballot that would have made it legal to offer in-person and online sports betting in California, but both were heavily voted down.