The Concept of Official Betting

The concept of official betting has emerged as a primary front in the battles over US sports gambling law. Leagues want a larger role as the primary stakeholders in legal sports betting, and they are intent on profiting from it—ideally via a “integrity fee” that gives them a direct share of wagers placed on their events. But short of that, they are seeking a means to monetize data and restrict access to it.

Illinois and Tennessee have both included a requirement for official data in their sports betting laws. However, that only applies to Tier 2 bets, which are those that aren’t based on the final score or outcome of a game. The laws also qualify the term “official data” with the phrase, “on commercially reasonable terms.”

New Hampshire’s sportsbooks went live Jan. 31, but sports betting is retail only and there’s no plan for a mobile app or a statewide offering. Despite the limited market, bettors are finding it an attractive destination for sports betting, thanks to competitive odds and generous bonuses.

In one of the biggest sports scandals ever, professional gambler Joseph Sullivan paid eight members of the Chicago White Sox in 1919 to fix the World Series against Cincinnati Reds. All eight players were banned from baseball for life, including slugger Pete Rose. Increasingly, athletes and other college-age people are being harassed by bettors with gambling interests. The NCAA is working to address this issue and educate student-athletes about problem gambling and the risks of irresponsible wagering.