The Importance of Official Data in Sports Betting

Sportsbook operator partnerships, legal battles and the quest for official data have made sports betting a primary focus of discussion since the US Supreme Court opened the door to state-based gambling. With a new focus on profiting from US sports wagering, leagues seek a role as primary stakeholders while protecting the integrity of their games. To that end, the leagues have pushed to include a mandate for official data in new sports wagering laws, which they have called an “integrity fee.” The premise behind these fees is to ensure that all wagers are graded using accurate and timely information.

The definition of what constitutes official data varies across the country. In Illinois, for example, the law states that all Tier 2 bets must be placed using official data. This includes bets on player props, team and game totals, and win/loss odds. Tier 1 wagers, on the other hand, do not require official data and can be placed using a variety of sources. This grading structure creates confusion for players and is not consistent with how Nevada has operated its regulated sports betting market for decades.

Despite the lack of consistency in state definitions, all legal betting markets agree that official data is an important part of a well-functioning sports betting product. However, requiring the use of official data in all sports betting products is not ideal, as it limits market innovation and competition. Also, it raises questions about the accuracy and reliability of the information provided. In addition, mandating the use of official data could lead to a significant increase in sportsbook costs, potentially harming consumers.