Official Betting

Official betting is the process by which sportsbooks take bets on the results of an event. The betting line for an individual game or event can include moneyline bets, point spread bets and if-bets (which are multiple straight bets joined by an “if” clause to determine the wager process).

In 2022, Ohio passed legislation that made sports betting legal, with the first in-person sportsbooks opening in December of that year and online betting launching in January of 2023. Bettors in the state can place bets on both professional and collegiate teams, although player prop bets in collegiate games are prohibited.

Despite the federal ban on sports gambling, states have been quick to jump into this new market. Some have taken a more cautious approach, requiring officials to pass a background check, while others are allowing the industry to self-regulate.

The NFL has beefed up in-house technology and partnered with sportsbooks and integrity firms to monitor betting activity. Those that violate rules are subject to fines and even permanent bans from the league. In the famous 1919 World Series scandal, professional gambler Joseph Sullivan paid eight members of the Chicago White Sox—Oscar Felsch, Arnold Gandil, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Fred McMullin, Charles Risberg, George Weaver, and Claude Williams—around $10,000 each to fix a game. The team ultimately lost and was banned from the league for life.

In the NHL, a rule is posted in every dugout that says players and those working for a team or the league are not allowed to place bets on NHL games. That is in addition to a statement in each player’s contract acknowledging the league’s gambling policies.