As the US sports betting landscape evolves it presents various challenges, one of which is ensuring integrity is maintained in each state.
Ahead of this week’s Betting on Sports America Conference, we spoke to David Lampitt, the Global Head of League Partnerships at Sportradar, who detailed the importance of state by state collaboration, as well as what new laws means for integrity in US sport.
InsiderSport: When it comes to integrity in the US how much of a challenge does state by state regulation represent?
David Lampitt: It is inevitable in the US that each state’s regulation has, and will continue to differ to some extent, resulting in a fragmented marketplace. Where we have seen relative alignment is in the recognition of a need to install robust integrity measures and processes in the regulations to help protect the integrity of the sport.
It is important that each regulatory framework incorporates the effective detection and reporting of suspect betting from licensed operators to investigating bodies. This may be regulators who have regulations to enforce as well as leagues who have rules to uphold and disciplinary processes to follow if there is an issue. And where issues do arise, there should be a requirement to share sufficient information with the investigating body for an effective investigation. This might include, for example, sharing of CCTV footage if suspect bets were placed in a casino, or, if placed online, the details of the account placing the suspect bet.
Underpinning the frameworks should be integrity related collaboration between key stakeholders and across state borders.
InsiderSport: How important is state-by-state collaboration in terms of ensuring integrity in the States?
David Lampitt: This is vital. Integrity issues don’t respect state or national boundaries so there needs to be collaboration to enable official and effective communication and cooperation channels between key integrity stakeholders across the ecosystem. This should include the sportsbooks, regulators, leagues, law enforcement agencies and integrity service providers.
A suspect betting investigation could span bets placed in several states (as well as internationally) and therefore this joining together is especially important in a fragmented state by state landscape.
There are examples of good practice in the international market that can provide a basis for a coordinated US approach such as the Council of Europe Macolin Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions in Europe with its National Platform concept. In the end the US needs to implement what suits its stakeholders best but maintaining the integrity of the game must be at the center of the regulatory frameworks across the country.
InsiderSport: What type of relationship can unofficial data have with official data to ensure integrity in the US?
David Lampitt: We recognise the clear benefits of having official data in the market place but we also understand the market reality and legitimacy of the existence of unofficial data. We work closely with sports to ensure that they can deliver a high-quality official data product that has unique and protectable value, making it an attractive, safe and investable proposition for the downstream market.
Part of this is ensuring the quality of the data procurement processes, and this applies regardless of whether the data collected is official or unofficial data. This is something Sportradar focuses on and we are proud to have earned ISO-certification for the Quality Management System of our data production unit.
We apply these quality processes to everything from innovative technology to the data collectors collecting the data. This is what ensures accuracy and therefore integrity of the process and the output.
InsiderSport: Can you go into greater detail about Senate Bill 552 and the impact it could have on Sportradar in the US?
David Lampitt: The opportunity for states to determine whether they’re going to allow legalized sports betting and how is a significant step for the country as well as for those involved in the industry – and Sportradar is no exception.
We advocate that any legislative and regulatory framework should be set up to encourage the channeling of wagering into the regulated market and not offshore for the clear taxation, consumer protection and integrity benefits this brings.
Therefore, the regulated operators must be able to compete with the offshore market which means having reasonable tax rates as well as allowing mobile and in-play sports betting. The latter is crucial to drive fan engagement and overall betting handle to the benefit of all key stakeholders in the regulated sports betting ecosystem.
At Sportradar, we pride ourselves on being at the heart of this ecosystem, working with operators and leagues to bring innovative and cutting edge betting products and services to the market.