Official betting is wagering that relies on real-time official sports data. There are two major providers of such data in the US: Sportradar and Genius Sports. Most major leagues have a commercial agreement with one or both, relationships that have expanded alongside the appetite for legal sports betting in the US. In general, operators and bettors dictate the value of such data, making it difficult for leagues to push a mandate on its use through legislative action.
Leagues have long pushed for the mandatory use of official data in state-regulated sports betting, a pitch that gained urgency in the wake of SCOTUS striking down PASPA in February 2018. While the American Gaming Association supports private commercial agreements on this front, it opposes legislative mandates on the issue.
In addition to its own in-house efforts, MLB works with regulators and sportsbooks to monitor and report integrity issues in a proactive manner. The league also works with independent integrity monitoring companies to verify the accuracy of statistical data used in bet settlements. Staffers can face a three-year ban if they attempt to manipulate betting markets, including offering a gift to an umpire in exchange for a call.
During in-person testimony before lawmakers in Illinois and Tennessee this summer, NBA Executive Dan Spillane promoted official data as the only “one true data” for sports betting. But Nevada has operated its regulated market without the product for decades, and the utility of such data is under question in the rapidly evolving world of in-play wagering. The industry views such data mandates as plain bad policy, forcing private operators into commercial deals with the leagues while granting them what amounts to a monopoly on this type of information.