The NFL is trying to discourage its players from betting on the game, but even if it succeeds, it will face serious challenges in enforcing it. Athletes have found ways to circumvent the league’s gambling policy, including placing bets outside of regulated markets in the US, with bookmakers that don’t have partnerships with the NFL and are not obligated to alert the league. They could also place bets through their associates, or use a mobile application that can’t be tracked.
As legal sports betting has spread across the US since SCOTUS struck down PASPA in May 2018, sports leagues have begun dipping their hands into sports betting policy, seeking to require official data for bets. But it’s a slippery slope. While the American Gaming Association supports private commercial agreements for official data, it opposes legislative mandates.
The debate over official data centers on whether it’s “commercially reasonable.” Sources within the industry peg the price tag at 0.25% of bets wagered, which is what leagues are asking via distributor Sportradar. But it’s unclear how much that would actually boost the integrity of bets. In the past, grading in-play wagers has been done using a combination of official and unofficial data. And in any case, it would take a lot more than 0.25% of bets to convince operators that paying for official data improves their odds of winning. Ultimately, the market will decide how much official data is worth. But it’s clear that the leagues are determined to get their way on this issue.