The Future of Sports Betting and Athletes’ Personal Information

There is a storm brewing behind closed doors in sportsbooks. Across the world, bookmakers are worried as the race to get more information about an athlete’s medical condition could create an industry where the integrity of bets is always under suspicion as technology offers bettors the ability to know a player’s injury or other relevant medical information before the sportsbooks.

To make matters even more complicated, the question of who owns an athlete’s medical information, such as heart rate during a game, is also a huge unknown that could create ethical dilemmas if the player sold those readings to the highest bidder.

With sports betting on the verge of being in more than half the states in America, the desire to get an informational advantage is incredibly high as billions of dollars hang in the balance.

It is not hard to see that sports and the sports betting market are headed toward a complicated tangling of personal rights and the viability of an industry that is worth hundreds of millions of dollars to bookmakers and state legislations that depend on the tax revenue to prop up education and other funding.

What Could Help a Player Sell His Information?

Currently, teams incorporate wearable sensors to track a variety of readings for their players. In soccer, for example, wearable sensors allow teams to know how far a player has run during a match and what their maximum speed was during the contest.

Knowing this information allows the team to tailor a workout regimen to maximize the player’s performance. But what if that information found its way into the hands of a sharp bettor with a bankroll that could wipe out a sportsbook?

That dilemma is a huge one on the mind of operators as they push legislators to regulate the information to save an industry that relies heavily on integrity and being able to offer a product that is not damaged by malfeasance.

How Could a Player’s Data Be Controlled?

A battle is also on the horizon between leagues and player’s unions as to who owns the data and how it is distributed.

Another reason for concern for players is if the data is packaged by the league and sold to sportsbooks without an understanding of compensation or how the information could be used. The use of the data is one of the sportsbooks biggest concerns due to the potential of a data breach by hackers.

Brian Socolow, a sports-industry lawyer, told the Wall Street Journal, “There’s no reason why a professional sports league would be immune from a data breach.”


With these different entities worrying ownership, usage and financial benefits of the data, it is not a reach to see that unless all parties agree to some form of sharing agreement, that everyone is headed to a long legal standoff that could greatly affect the betting markets.


What is a Motion-Tracking System in sports?

A motion-tracking system is a computer program that could map a player’s movement and potentially detect an injury or flaw in the player’s mechanics leading to an informational advantage.

What can wearable sensors monitor on athletes?

Wearable sensors will be able to monitor an infinite amount of readings such as distance covered on the field to maximum speed when sprinting.

Who owns the data recorded by the sensors and motion-tracking systems?

There are no governmental regulations currently as to who owns an athlete’s data.

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