Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

Perhaps the leadership of pro-football are a little naïve, or perhaps the leaders of Sportradar US are a little nefarious, or both.  Whatever the case, the data company which is partly owned by the NFL abruptly changed an announcement of a mobile sports betting app that would allow betting on any NFL play.  The NFL says their contract to supply statistics to the company did not allow that.

After the announcement was made, Sportradar hastily withdrew the announcement, and said the deal with ipro to produce the game called “Ringgit!” would only be available for social play and not for betting.  But the CEO of ipro said their goal was to offer the game for betting once the confusion was cleared.  There are other sources of the data, but Sportradar is the official and best source, and the next contract would allow for sports betting.

The sports leagues are facing increasing scrutiny of their relationship with fantasy leagues, especially daily fantasy games: Florida has a sitting Grand Jury looking at the problems, and the New York AG has prohibited accepting bets from New York residents because it is clearly illegal.  Other states are considering their options.  A number of sports owners and a couple of casinos have invested in ipro.  If the owners and leagues continue to play with the gambling fire, they will get burned by fixed games and insider bets.  Integrity will be a lost commodity from which the games may never recover.

Adam Silver’s (NBA Commissioner) call for regulated gambling on sports is an open invitation to corruption and an expansion of those addicted to gambling, because it will draw the underage to illicit gambling.  As gambling continues to become more dominant in our culture, the divide between the rich and the poor will grow ever wider.