The NBA has taken a significant step toward improving the integrity of sports betting in the US.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has not always been a supporter of sports betting. This deal shows that he has grasped the nettle and done the right thing for NBA fans.
“Sportradar and Genius Sports are proven leaders in data distribution and will deliver unparalleled, real-time official NBA betting data. As the sports betting landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace, these new partnerships will provide robust and reliable data to ensure the best possible gaming experience for our fans in the U.S.”
Sports data underpins all sports betting
Sportradar and Genius Sports are indeed the biggest names in the business when it comes to sports betting data. They play a critical role in supplying sports betting data to gambling operators so that they can offer safe, reliable sports betting.
At the simplest level, data providers ensure the winners and losers of any particular sporting event are accurately published in a timely manner.
Any error in the sports results would be catastrophic for sports betting providers because they will pay out bets they shouldn’t or not pay out when they should.
Timely data enables them to defeat fraudsters attempting to lay bets after a game has finished but before the bookmakers know the results.
In this age of high-speed internet, timeliness is critically important—thousandths of a second matter. Without the cooperation of match organizers, data providers are hampered in achieving both accuracy and timeliness.
Official data makes for more in-game betting options
Over the last few years, in-game sports betting has become the most popular form of wagering, which is when bettors wager on events that might happen only seconds in the future.
Typical in-game bets would include who will score the next point, something that happens in an instant during NBA matches.
To support sports betting properly, data agreements with the leagues are vital. The NBA is acting highly responsibly in making this deal.
The integrity of sports data protects sports bettors and operators, but it also protects the leagues and players.
SportRadar and Genius Sports do much more than distributing data. They have developed the tools and expertise to analyze the data so that attempted fraud can be identified in real time.
Unusual bets and betting patterns create red flags. This level of forensic analysis substantially reduces betting fraud, and therefore the incentives to fix matches.
Direct data increases the variety of bets that sportsbooks offer
Sportsbooks do like to win. But they can only win in the long run if they can accurately calculate the odds of any specific event happening.
Official NBA data gives the sportsbook operators much more data that is reliable. With reliable data comes the ability to set the odds.
Operators can now offer those odds can on many more matches and many more in-game events.
Carsten Koerl, chief executive officer of Sportradar, explained:
“With sports betting being so new to the United States, we will look to utilize our vast global experience in the space to implement innovative feeds and products to give fans and partners an amazing experience.”
Mark Locke, chief executive officer of Genius Sports, agreed:
“We are world renowned for driving innovation in basketball sports betting and look forward to inspiring a more engaging betting experience for NBA fans.”
The deal strikes a blow at the black market
One aspect of this deal that should be emphasized is its potential to counter the sports betting black market.
Until the U.S. Supreme Court overturned PASPA in May this year, outside of Nevada, all online US sports betting went to the black market.
The black market uses its data sources to offer sports betting. Those sources are necessarily less reliable than official league data.
The NBA deal gives licensed operators a real competitive advantage over the black market. Better data means the licensed operators can offer better products, higher levels of integrity and even better odds to their customers.
All in all, it’s a win-win for everyone except the illegal offshore operators.