Sports Betting Laws – What Is Official Betting?

Official betting is wagering on events sanctioned by sports governing bodies, such as a game’s final score or the winner of a championship. These bets are settled by governing body rules, which include a ban on seeking, offering, or accepting bribes to fix matches, and using inside information for betting purposes.

The term has emerged as front and center in US sports gambling debates, with leagues angling for a role as primary stakeholders in legal sports betting. In order to monetize their data and gain control over the market, they want a mechanism allowing them to levy an integrity fee on bettors.

While a commercially reasonable integrity fee remains elusive, leagues’ quest for official data mandates has supplanted the concept as their primary method of influencing US sports betting policy. A mandate requiring operators to use official league data would require a sportsbook to pay an extra fee for the service, and that appears unlikely to fly in most markets.

Currently, only Illinois and Tennessee have official data mandates in their sports betting laws, though lawmakers in many other states have included it as a permissible option. The mandates stipulate that Tier 1 bets — those based on the final score or outcome of an event — must be graded with official data, while Tier 2 bets (such as futures or props) can be made without it. In a Tier 2 bet, the lower number denotes the favorite, while the higher one is the underdog.