The phrase “official betting” has become front and center in the US state-level debate on sports gambling. As leagues shift from their years-long opposition to betting to their desire to profit from it, official data mandates and a proposed integrity fee have emerged as key battlegrounds.
In short, it’s the leagues’ attempt to impose a handle-based fee on all wagers placed on their events by legal operators in states where sports betting is offered. Such a fee would be tacked onto each individual wager and paid to the leagues via data distributors like Sportradar.
But while legislators have been receptive to this pitch, operators remain skeptical of its value and the utility of mandating data use. The reality is that the data has yet to prove its worth, and forcing private operators into commercial agreements with the leagues creates a monopoly that many view as bad public policy.
What are the penalties for placing a bet on an NFL game?
In order to avoid a rash of fines, the league has beefed up its in-house technology and is working with sportsbooks, independent integrity monitors, and regulators to create a network that can detect when a player bets on a NFL game. The league also is limiting in-game bets to those made at team and league facilities and has been suspending players for up to one year for violating rules related to gambling on its games. For example, the NFL has suspended former Detroit Lions receiver Quintez Cephus and Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney for a total of six games for betting on the league while at team and league facilities.
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The lottery is a national pastime, a source of big-ticket jackpots and the source of an inconvenient truth: It preys on poor people. That is a view shared by many researchers and public officials, who argue that state lotteries are more than just games of chance; they’re a financial exchange that is mathematically stacked against low-income players.
In the fifteenth century, the first public lotteries to offer tickets for sale with prizes in the form of money were held in the Low Countries, where they raised funds to build town fortifications and help the poor. By the time America began its rise as an independent nation, lotteries were a common method of raising public funding for everything from civil defense to building churches and colleges. In fact, the founders were big fans of the lottery: Benjamin Franklin ran one to raise money to establish Philadelphia’s library and John Hancock ran one to help finance Boston’s Faneuil Hall. And the Continental Congress used one to fund the Revolutionary War.
Today, lotteries rely on two main messages to persuade people to buy tickets. “One is that they’re supposed to feel good about playing the lottery, that it’s their civic duty or whatever,” says Bernal. “The other is that they’re supposed to benefit the state.”
But he says the messages are misleading, especially in the context of the percentage of state revenue that the lottery brings in. “I’ve never seen that put in the context of how regressive the lottery is.” He adds that in tough economic times, low-income people may be more likely to spend money on scratchers in order to try to win a large prize and escape poverty.