In a world where betting on sports has become wildly popular, many people are curious about the rules surrounding official betting. Official betting is the process of placing wagers on events and player props in regulated markets. There are a variety of regulations and stipulations that govern this type of wagering, including how the odds on each event are created.
Several states have now legalized sports betting. Colorado became the 19th state to legalize betting in 2021, although there are restrictions involving collegiate teams that prohibit some types of wagers. In New Jersey, online sports betting was first available in March of 2022 and the first in-person sportsbooks opened in December of the same year. In Massachusetts, sports betting began on January 31, 2023 through in-person and mobile sportsbooks.
There are also a number of restrictions regarding the amount that can be wagered on an individual team or player in a specific game. This can be a big hurdle for new sports bettors, but it’s not impossible to overcome if you know the rules.
The leagues have been pushing hard to include official data in the rules of sports betting, starting even before SCOTUS overturned PASPA in May 2018. They are arguing that it’s necessary for integrity. But bettors will ultimately decide how much this information is worth, and the leagues’ ability to impose a mandate on operators may become more difficult as the demand for official data increases.
A key issue is who collects official data and how it is distributed to sportsbooks. The major US sports leagues have private arrangements with real-time data providers, such as Sportradar and Genius Sports, that have expanded alongside the appetite for legal sports betting. Some of these arrangements are exclusive, while others allow multiple tiers of data and distribution.
The NFL has stepped up its efforts to monitor the market, beefing up in-house technology and working with regulators, sportsbooks and independent integrity firms to track bets and spot potential violations. Its in-house integrity team conducts investigations of alleged rules violations and has been active in encouraging responsible gambling through education and outreach. It is a founding member of the American Gaming Association’s Have A Game Plan. Bet Responsibly campaign and supports the National Council on Problem Gambling.
MLB has been less vocal, but it still takes a proactive approach to responsible betting by educating fans and partnering with sportsbooks and integrity firms. Its in-house investigation team looks at any possible infringements of its rules, and any infraction can lead to a three-year ban on betting on baseball games or permanent ineligibility. Its rules against gambling also explicitly forbid players, club or league officials and employees, and tournament officials from wagering on any event in which they participate or have a duty to perform. In addition, it prohibits the offering of gifts to any member of its personnel during a game. The league also works with the National Council on Problem Gambling as a Platinum Member.