Sports Data and Official Betting

After years of resisting sports gambling, leagues are now pushing for a role as primary stakeholders in US legal betting and seeking to monetize data. This quest for official betting has supplanted their previous strategy of trading integrity fees in exchange for state-by-state data mandates.

In the wake of last year’s Supreme Court ruling, 36 states plus Washington DC now offer legal sports betting. Several have adopted laws that require sportsbooks to use official league data, a mandate that is also a key part of new federal legislation proposed by the Biden administration.

But a debate is brewing over just how much that data is worth to bettors and whether it is even obtainable. Most operators have a relationship with one or more real-time data providers, such as Sportradar and Genius Sports. The NBA, for example, has an agreement with both of those firms. The PGA Tour has an arrangement with both of those and other vendors as well, relationships that have expanded alongside the increase in the demand for live data.

The real-time data provided by these providers is essential to grading wagers in a live sportsbook. But there are nuances to how the data is used and a distinction between Tier 1 and Tier 2 bets that must be taken into account. The difference in speed between the two types of data can be the difference between winning and losing. That is why many betting groups rely on their reputation to gain the best originators and pay them handsomely for their services.