Following the Supreme Court’s decision to open sports betting markets, legal wagering has begun in a handful of US states. And as the industry expands, questions over official data are emerging as a front in the battle over how betting companies should use player and game data.

In a bid to bolster their position as primary stakeholders in sports gambling, leagues have long sought a mechanism for monetizing betting data. That quest has morphed into the quest for official data mandates and now appears to be supplanting integrity fees as the top priority for US sports leagues looking to profit from the sports betting gold rush.

The NBA started a new chapter in its relationship with sports betting in June of 2018 when it signed an alliance with MGM, marking the first partnership between a major US professional sports league and a sportsbook operator. That was followed in December of 2021 by an agreement between the NHL and DraftKings that could become a model for other US pro sports leagues seeking similar partnerships with bookmakers.

State law is still unclear on how much official data must be used, with many lawmakers using vague terms like “data obtained from the relevant governing body of a sport or sports league” to establish requirements for sports betting operators. That leaves the door wide open to interpretation, which in turn makes it harder to defend the hefty prices that leagues are asking for their data.