The NFL Gets Dirty With Sports Betting Regulations

Uncategorized Mar 12, 2024

Despite a series of hiccups, legal sports betting is now available in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. And a handful of sportsbooks are now offering pre-registration deals ahead of the March 11 debut of fully licensed North Carolina betting apps.

In the wake of last year’s Supreme Court decision, leagues began getting their hands dirty on sports betting policy. The NFL, for instance, asked regulators in Pennsylvania to include official data in sports betting regulations.

This is the first time a major US professional sports league has taken such a public stand on this issue. But it is unlikely to be the last.

The Illinois and Tennessee laws require sportsbooks to use official league data for Tier 2 wagers, a subset of bets that cover specific players’ performance in multi-sport events. This is a significant concession for the leagues, as they initially pushed for a full lockdown on betting data.

But there is much debate over whether the official data is worth the cost. Sources within the industry put the commercial price of this data at 0.25% of total handle, roughly what distributor Sportradar is charging for it. And requiring the use of this data artificially constrains the market, forcing operators to enter into commercial agreements with the leagues and granting one party what amounts to a monopoly on data.

The issue is also complicated by the fact that most of these mandates do not specify what constitutes official data. In other words, the regulated marketplace may be flooded with unofficial data that is free or nearly as cheap as official league data.