Official betting has emerged as a key battleground for sports leagues in their effort to shape US state and federal sports gambling policy. While the leagues were previously against legalized sports wagering, they are now intent on profiting from it, ideally by receiving a share of all money wagered on their events. As a result, they have been pushing to mandate the use of their data.
This has supplanted the integrity fee as the leagues’ preferred mechanism for obtaining their desired piece of the pie. As the number of regulated sports betting markets expands, it is likely that more states will adopt official data mandates.
Under the terms of the current law, a permit holder is required to have an agreement in place with an official league data provider before it can accept any bets on that event. Such an agreement is required to include “commercially reasonable terms,” a term that appears to be nebulous at best. Sources within the industry estimate that leagues are seeking a minimum of 0.25% of total bets, an amount that would likely be collected via a distribution deal with Sportradar.
SS 58.1-4037 defines “oficial league data” as statistical and other information that is obtained from the relevant governing body of a sport or sports league, organization or association whose corporate headquarters are based in the United States, or an entity expressly authorized by such governing body to provide such information to licensees. The definition of “official event” is broad enough to encompass virtually all collegiate, professional and amateur sporting events.