After years of opposing sports betting, the NFL and other major professional leagues are now attempting to shape US state and federal policy. In the past, they were concerned that gambling could compromise the integrity of their games. Today, they are focused on profiting from legal sports betting and on preserving their position as primary stakeholders in the industry. The battle over official data has emerged as a major front in those efforts, with leagues seeking to impose data mandates and a so-called integrity fee on wagering operators.

In the case of the NFL, it is a mandate on which it has staked its future. The league has signed up as an advertising partner with William Hill and has invested in the expansion Vegas Golden Knights. It has also signed a deal with Sportradar to distribute its official data. It is not clear how much those services cost, but sources in the industry peg the price at 0.25% of total wagers, or about $1 million per year.

Illinois and Tennessee are two states to have included official data requirements in their sports betting laws, though both stipulate that operators may avoid the mandate if they can show that such data is not available on commercially reasonable terms from one source. But that qualifier is unclear and appears to open the door for distributors to raise prices based on legal mandates.

The NBA, meanwhile, has agreed to partnerships with DraftKings and FanDuel and will work with the companies on best-in-class practices to protect the integrity of its games. However, players and other team personnel are still barred from placing bets on games in which they are involved.