The anti-gambling stigma that once tarnished sports betting has faded quickly in American popular culture, leaving millions of sports fans poised to enter the multibillion-dollar industry. For those just now making the leap, it’s important to understand how wagers work. This includes understanding odds, which are represented by plus and minus signs and indicate how much you stand to win if you place a bet.

Official betting is a new trend in state-regulated sports betting that gives leagues more visibility into bets and the players who make them. The idea first surfaced in a lobbying document circulated by the NBA and MLB in February 2018, well before the US Supreme Court overturned PASPA. It has since taken root in Tennessee’s law, with Illinois lawmakers planning to include a similar requirement in their own draft bill.

Sportsbook customers would be required to use the data to verify the identity of bettors and limit exposure to high-risk bettors. The leagues would also be able to review all bets placed and identify patterns of high-risk activity. The American Gaming Association supports private commercial agreements for official data but opposes legislative mandates.

Legal sports betting is available in 24 states, with Arizona leading the way. The state’s retail and online options launched in 2021, with companies such as DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM offering products. The NFL, meanwhile, has continued to crack down on players who place bets against the team they’re playing for or while at a franchise facility. In April, the league suspended former Detroit Lions receiver Quintez Cephus and Washington Commanders defensive back CJ Moore for at least one year.