NBA Gives Ultimatum to Sports Betting Operators in the US
It looks like sports betting operators will be forced to pay a fee for using the official data of the National Basketball Association (NBA) if they don’t want to lose the chance to offer in-play betting on the world’s most prestigious basketball competition.
According to available information, sportsbook doing business in the United States received what could only be described an ultimatum from SportRadar, the official supplier of NBA data to operators where wagering on sports have been made legal since the US Supreme Court overturned PASPA in May last year.
An Outright Ultimatum
A letter sent to operators across the country informs that only “Authorized Gaming Operators of the NBA are eligible to receive the NBA Official Data Feed” used for betting in certain states. All Authorized Data Distributors who do not meet certain conditions will stop providing the official data starting from May 29.
Both NBA and Major League Baseball (MLB) have threatened to stop offering official data unless sportsbooks agree to pay a fee of 0.25% of the betting handle on their respective sports, and become official league partners. In the case of the NBA, the list of partners includes names such as FanDuel, The Stars Group and MGM Resorts.
The NBA officials have stated on numerous occasions that operators will have a grace period of one season to secure their partnership agreements. The season is coming to an end, and those operators which fail to secure rights to use the leagues’ intellectual property will lose access to a wide array of marketing opportunities.
At this point, it is unknown whether other providers of official data, such as Genius Sports, are making similar requests from their partners. Many believe these demands are nothing more than blackmail and are advocating the use of unofficial data feeds.
This cut of betting turnover was at first referred to as an “integrity fee”, but it has since been rebranded as a “royalty”. In both cases, the ultimate goal of the leagues is to get a portion of the betting handle. Initially, they wanted to set the fee at 1%, although is more likely they wanted to make 0.25% seem more acceptable to operators.
The leagues have even tried to include their demands in betting legislations across the country, but after this failed to give concrete results, they decided to make the use of official league data for in -play betting mandatory for all betting licensees.
They did, however, score a small win last month, when lawmakers in Tennessee gave a green light to a bill including a mandatory official data requirement, while also giving the leagues a power to decide what types of wager could be offered by licensed sportsbooks.
Basketball is very popular among bettors, while the recently released figures show that only in New Jersey basketball bets accounted more nearly a third of the overall handle in the first four months of this year, which amounts to $28.4 million.
In-play wagering is also very popular with players, eclipsing pre-match betting in a number of markets.