The Fight Over Official Betting

The fight over official betting has become one of the key drivers of US state-regulated sports wagering policy. Leagues seek to control data flow, monetize it, and ultimately share a slice of the betting action.

The SCOTUS decision to overturn PASPA kicks off a new round of discussions, with the leagues launching lobbying efforts for mandated use of official league data in state-regulated markets. While the industry strongly opposes mandates, leagues broadly support a mechanism that allows them to monetize their data.

Leagues’ quest for a legislative mandate has supplanted the integrity fee as the preferred method to monetize their data. But the question of how much official data should cost remains in flux.

A tier-based system for official data is proposed by some states, which could result in a separate charge for the tiers of wagers that require it. Some states have also introduced language that allows regulators to determine whether a data source is appropriate for a particular market.

For example, the NCAA has a contract with Genius Sports for live stats, while PGA Tour has a deal with IMG Arena. Despite these agreements, the legality of such contracts is subject to further clarification by state lawmakers.

The industry largely views official data mandates as a bad idea, but some operators may reevaluate their pricing based on mandates as they begin to come into force. Until operators and bettors decide how much value official data holds, it will remain unclear how to impose a commercially reasonable price for the service.