In recent years, US sports betting has taken center stage as leagues seek to monetize their data. That quest has supplanted the integrity fee as the leagues’ preferred method to extract a cut of the handle.
The battle for control over data has emerged as a primary front in the effort to shape US state and federal policy. In an attempt to wrest control from regulators, leagues have pushed for mandates that require the use of official data.
Those mandates have reshaped US sports betting law, defining wagers in a way that obstructs the ability of operators to choose their data sources and grade those bets. While this structure has been criticized by some, it appears to represent a compromise for the leagues.
There are three types of markets that are based on official league data: Tier 1 bets, which include outcomes and final scores; Tier 2 bets, which include live wagers; and Tier 3 bets, which are tied to in-play wagers. Tier 2 bets are generally only available to those that have official data, though regulators in Illinois and Tennessee have chosen to define the term as a “live wager” and allow for wagers without official data to be graded.
Tier 3 bets, meanwhile, are not mandated. In Nevada and New Jersey, for example, Tier 3 bets are graded with unofficial data, although a league may still request a tier-specific data package.
It is unclear whether the commercial value of official data is worth the cost. In the end, operators and their bettors will decide how much they’re willing to pay for it.