Report: NBA Plans Betting Data Cutoff to Non-Partner Sportsbooks for Finals

Posted on: May 26, 2019, 10:36h. 

Last updated on: May 26, 2019, 10:51h.

Betting options may become limited for many US sportsbooks – and their customers – for the upcoming NBA Finals.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, left, announces a sports betting partnership with MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren in July, Last week, the league announced it would restrict access to betting data for the NBA Finals, which starts on Thursday. (Image: Sports Illustrated)

ESPN reported on Friday that Sportradar communicated via letters to sportsbooks across the country that the NBA will prohibit it from providing official league data to books that are not “an Authorized Gaming Operator” after 11:59 pm ET on Tuesday.

The league partnered with Sportradar, along with Genius Sports, to supply data to authorized sportsbooks.

Game 1 of the NBA Finals starts Thursday night in Toronto.

Scott Kaufman-Ross, a league executive who oversees fantasy and gaming, told ESPN the NBA gave sportsbooks a grace period for using official data without an agreement in place and that period will end soon.

Currently, the league has official agreements with three sportsbooks: MGM Resorts International, FanDuel, and The Stars Group. The MGM agreement extended a relationship the resort company already had with the league. MGM owns the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces and serves as the title sponsor for the NBA’s Summer League.

Official Data for In-Game Bets

Without the availability of in-game data, unauthorized sportsbooks would be unlikely to provide proposition bets on the outcome of events during a contest. While most bets are currently on the games themselves, such as the point spread, the moneyline, or the over-under point total, many gaming analysts see in-game betting as a future driver of growth in the industry.

Since the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act last year, the major professional sporting leagues in the US have changed their tune on sports betting. Rather than oppose it, as they did in lawsuits and lobbying efforts, they sought out partnerships – as the NBA did with MGM, FanDuel, and The Stars Group.

In these partnerships, the sportsbooks have agreed to pay a premium for the league data.

I think what was very important for the NBA was that we were able to establish through a commercial relationship that we should be compensated for our intellectual property and for our official data,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver last July at a press conference announcing the MGM deal. “I think ultimately it was on us to convince MGM that there was a commercial benefit to compensating us for that data.”

In addition, the professional leagues have been lobbying states where sports betting bills are being considered or where laws have been passed to include mandates for using official league data in their legislation. This was done after officials from the leagues, including Silver, realized Congress would not intervene in the matter.

So far, the only state to include such a requirement has been Tennessee, the most recent state to pass a law.

Sportradar Agreement

In November, the NBA announced that it reached an agreement with sports data companies Sportradar and Genius Sports to distribute official league betting data to US sportsbooks. The deal included both NBA and WNBA contests, including preseason and postseason games.

A message to Sportradar’s press office was not returned.

However, in a recent blog post commemorating the Supreme Court’s ruling, Sportradar CEO Carsten Koerl said his company works to ensure a secure sports betting environment in the US. That also requires all stakeholders to work together to protect the industry.

“A legalized betting market that is administered and regulated appropriately in this way is the only approach in developing a successful US wagering market,” Koerl wrote.

In addition to the NBA, Sportradar also has forged partnerships with MLB and the NHL.