Official Betting in the U.S.

Official betting is wagering on games backed by the sports leagues that govern them. It has been a controversial topic in the U.S., with the NBA and MLB leading the charge to mandate that legal sportsbooks use their data. The gist of the war over “official” versus “unofficial” league data, as chronicled by Sports Handle and others, is that sports leagues want to monetize their information rather than simply promote it as an option for fans.

The Supreme Court decision lifted the federal ban on full-fledged sports betting, and a few states were quick out of the gate in 2021. New Jersey had a regulated sportsbook up and running on Aug. 6, followed by Delaware and West Virginia. The latter two have shaped the online market and have attracted many bettors thanks to an existing user base from their daily fantasy sports offerings.

Other states have been slower to get into the game, with Connecticut allowing sportsbooks only at its state’s tribal casinos and a statewide mobile component launched Oct. 1, 2021. The online/mobile launch featured DraftKings and FanDuel Sportsbook, with more brands expected to join as the state’s sportsbooks mature.

NCAA rules prohibit athletes from betting on any sport with a WBSC championship (like the Olympics). The ban applies to both amateur and pro athletes. Educating athletes on the issue is a key aspect of the NCAA’s sports gambling policy. For example, players at the Charlotte 49ers must sign off on their understanding of the sports betting policy each year.

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