Official betting is a term that has emerged as a key battleground in the US sports betting policy debate. It’s an attempt by leagues to monetize their data and supplant the integrity fee as their preferred way to gain a cut of the top of US sports betting handle.
The idea first appeared in a lobbying document circulated by the NBA and MLB three months before the US Supreme Court overturned PASPA. It would give leagues the power to control sports betting data flow, with a tiered approach that essentially forced private operators into commercial agreements with the leagues while granting one party what amounts to a monopoly on data.
In the United States, official betting has become a popular wagering option in recent years as state governments have taken a more hands-on role in regulating sports betting. There are currently no federal laws governing this activity in the United States, but states have their own policies for legalizing and regulating it.
As far as state-based policy is concerned, the most recent mandates are in Illinois and Tennessee, where official league data is required for “tier 2” wagers that are determined solely by a final score or result. Both laws include a qualification for their use that reads “commercially reasonable terms.” These qualifications allow sportsbooks to circumvent the requirement by demonstrating that official data is not being made available at a competitive price. This is unlikely to happen, however, since distributors are reportedly asking for a percentage of the total amount wagered on each league – an amount that can be prohibitively expensive for many operators.