Official Betting Data and Sports Wagering

After the US Supreme Court threw open the doors to sports betting, many states have gotten to work. And one issue that has dominated discussions is official data. Official betting is wagering on the results of a game or event, using data provided by a league or its contracted distributors. This data is typically used in a side-by-side comparison to grade in-play wagers on the action. It is a controversial topic, but with the leagues having such a powerful position in the market they are fighting to retain control over what happens at the point of sale for wagering.

Until recently, the NFL was leading the charge on this issue. They argued that legalized betting could lead to attempts at match fixing, or compromising the outcome of a game for gambling purposes. The NFL has since softened its stance, but is still trying to control the conversation on what happens inside of the stadiums and on the betting platforms.

Illinois and Tennessee both have laws that require the use of official data in sports wagering, with a caveat that the data must be available on “commercially reasonable terms.” This is a vague standard to judge. Sources within the industry peg the cost of the official data at 0.25% of the amount wagered. That price is a significant increase over unofficial data, which can be purchased from a number of sources and oftentimes is equal or superior to the official information.