Official Data Mandates For Sports Betting

After years of opposing gambling, sports leagues have shifted gears and sought a role as primary stakeholders in legal sports betting. Their core policy objectives include profiting from US wagering, ideally via a direct share of the total amount wagered. The quest for official data mandates has emerged as the leagues’ preferred mechanism to achieve these goals.

Illinois and Tennessee have included official data requirements in their sports betting laws, citing the success of Nevada’s regulated market. However, the law in both states only requires sportsbooks to use official data for Tier 2 wagers — those that do not involve the final score or outcome of a game. Tier 1 bets, meanwhile, can be graded without official data and have proven to be the most popular type of sports wager.

The leagues are also pursuing data arrangements with real-time stats companies like Sportradar and Genius Sports. These partnerships have expanded alongside the growing appetite for sports betting. In fact, a recent Morning Consult poll found that 25% of Americans over 21 had bet on sports in 2021.

In addition to the leagues’ monetary interests, player and fan safety are also key concerns in the battle over data mandates. The leagues have argued that certain bet types — including player props — create situations where student-athletes are targeted for irresponsible wagering. This type of behavior can lead to negative academic outcomes and even problems with problem gambling.

The NFL, MLB and NBA have also partnered with online gambling providers to offer new kinds of sports bets. For example, the NFL launched a football’moneyline’ bet this year that lets fans choose how many points they think a team will win by in the first half of a game. The bets are available on desktop, mobile and in the company’s Fanatics app in select markets where sports betting is legal.