Without information on scores and statistics, it would be impossible for anyone to bet on sports. And according to a new website called US Sports Integrity, bettors should be settling for nothing less than official data that is sanctioned by the leagues themselves.
The website is the creation of Genius Sports, a sports technology company with headquarters in London and Los Angeles. The site also lists many of the world’s largest sporting bodies as partners in the effort, including MLB, the PGA Tour, the English Premier League, and Euroleague Basketball.
US Sports Integrity appears to be pushing many of the same points that have been made by NBA and MLB officials in recent years: namely, that the lack of regulation in the United States sports betting market hasn’t stopped billions from being bet on sports each year. The result is a market where only players in Nevada have any sort of regulation and consumer protections, while everyone else in the country is still betting – they’re just doing so in the shadows.
Does Official Data Equal Integrity?
These leagues have put a premium on ensuring the integrity of their competitions in the face of a potential legalization of sports betting across the country. And while the US Sports Integrity website does touch on this topic, it does so from a new angle, stressing the importance of using official data.
This may not seem like the most pressing issue to most gamblers, as it is fairly easy to verify the scores and statistics of sporting events from numerous sources, both official and unofficial. However, the website tries to connect “unofficial” data to shady, unlicensed sportsbooks, while saying that official data is “fast, accurate, and reliable.”
“By mandating the use of Official Sports Data to offer and settle wagers, state legislators can protect U.S. citizens and safeguard sports integrity,” the website reads.
A Link to Integrity Fees
But some of the other “benefits” of official data listed on the site may show why leagues are backing this effort. Positives noted include a “fair return to sports rights holders” and the enabling of “in-depth monitoring of wagering markets,” both elements that could easily be connected to the integrity fees that MLB, NBA, and PGA officials have asked for if states regulate sports betting going forward.
This isn’t the first time that a major sports data firm has sided with its professional sports partners on the issue of integrity fees. Last week, officials from Sportsradar (which is partnered with the NBA, NFL, and NHL) came out in favor of such a fee as well.
“From our experience working with sports governing bodies in regulated jurisdictions around the world, there are increased costs for the sports to police the integrity of their competitions,” said Dr. Laila Mintas, deputy president of Sportsradar. “As a result, it is fair for U.S. sports leagues to receive some type of financial consideration in a regulated market.”
At the moment, Nevada is the only state that operates a fully-functioning regulated sports betting market. It does so without an official data source or any integrity fees.
Several states have already passed – or are considering passing – laws that would regulate sports betting in their jurisdictions should the Supreme Court rule favorably in Christie v. NCAA.