Sports Betting and the Department of Justice

A sports book will publish odds for a given game, but the line can change as the bets are placed. This is known as changing the money lines. During busy periods, the lines can be as volatile as the action on the game. These changes are due to a number of factors, including the amount of money being wagered and how quickly bettors react to the current odds. Occasionally, the lines will go from money to totalizators (sometimes called flexible rate bets). In a totalizators bet, the odds are calculated in real-time based on the share of the total exchange each possible outcome has received taking into account the bookmaker’s return rate.

In addition to the basic wagers offered on most sports, some betting shops offer exotic bets, such as a “daily double” (picking the first two finishers in exact order) or a “trifecta box” (picking the first three finishers in any order). Some of these bets require huge amounts of money to win, but they can provide an exciting alternative to placing straight bets.

The Department prohibits any activity intended to influence or manipulate a betting outcome. This includes seeking, offering, or accepting a bribe to fix a match or event within a match, as well as misuse of inside information that could reasonably be used for betting purposes. It also includes attempting to profit from the fixing of a match or event by sharing inside information, and failing to report any attempted violations once discovered. In one of the most famous sports scandals, Joseph Sullivan, a professional gambler, paid eight members of the Chicago White Sox to throw the 1919 World Series, leading to the Black Sox Scandal.