Official betting is a term that has emerged front and center in the sports betting conversation as leagues seek a larger role as primary stakeholders in US gambling policy. Leagues largely reject the idea of an integrity fee to directly monetize their games but are broadly supportive of mechanisms enabling them to control and certify the accuracy of data used to grade wagers. Toward that end, they are pushing for official league data mandates.
Unlike an integrity fee, which imposes a direct cut of the top of US sports betting handle, official data mandates would force all sportsbooks to use only certain data points from specific sources. Rather than creating a competitive imbalance, such restrictions would ensure that all wagers are graded according to the same standards regardless of which provider a bookmaker uses.
A number of states have already introduced or passed laws requiring sportsbooks to utilize official betting data. Illinois and Tennessee, for example, include a provision that requires the use of official league data for Tier 2 bets (those that involve statistical totals). Tier 1 wagers — those on the final score or outcome of a sporting event — can universally be graded without such data.
The NBA and NFL also support the concept of official betting, albeit with different approaches. The NHL is less vocal on the subject, though its Las Vegas expansion team was the first major professional club to join a Nevada sportsbook and has since signed an integrity partnership with William Hill.