Official betting is the act of placing a bet on an event that has already been deemed official by the relevant governing body. This type of wagering can occur before a game has been played, during the course of a live game or after the outcome of a game. Regardless of the type of bet, all bets on a given market are settled according to the rules set by the relevant governing body.

Odds are displayed in three distinct formats, American, decimal and fractional, and signify a probability that an individual will win a bet by selecting a particular option. In addition, odds change constantly, and the listed money line at the time a bet is placed may be different from the money line when the game begins.

It is prohibited for any person to seek to offer, accept or solicit a bribe for the purpose of fixing a bet on a sports event. Joseph Sullivan, an American bookmaker and gambler, was charged with this crime after offering bribes to eight members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox in exchange for pitching and batting practice during the World Series. All eight players were banned from professional baseball. This was considered one of the biggest sports scandals in history.