In sports betting, official data refers to the information that comes directly from a league or team and is used by all operators. That information is important to the integrity of the product and bettors should know that it will be provided equally across all platforms. However, the issue of official data is not black and white, with states debating how to balance the value of such information against the risk of an integrity fee on top of a legal sports gambling market.
A recent controversy has centered on the use of if bets, which allow players to place bets based on certain conditions being met. These bets are not illegal in any way, but they are often abused by professional sports teams looking to control the flow of money to and from their betting pools. In addition, there are concerns about the potential for illegal betting activity if players are given inside information that could be used to manipulate the outcome of bets on the game.
The American Gaming Association supports private commercial agreements between the leagues and operators, but opposes legislative mandates that require their use in regulated markets. A legislative proposal in Washington D.C. would have traded an integrity fee for the use of official data, a proposal that was widely rejected by members and the leagues themselves.
Illinois and Tennessee both have official data provisions in their sports betting laws, but the language is not a strict requirement because it includes a qualifier that says the restriction applies only to providers who cannot demonstrate that the leagues are not offering such information on “commercially reasonable terms.” Meanwhile, Indiana’s law explicitly gives regulators discretion over the sources of official data.