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One of the favorite features for regular bettors in Las Vegas during the NFL season is the ability to bet live during the game. This “in-game” betting feature is widely touted by casinos up and down the strip.
But at the end of September, Sportradar cut off the NFL’s official data feed to several sportsbooks in Las Vegas over a fee dispute. After missing in Week 5, sources have told media outlets that the sportsbooks that lost the feed will have it reinstated by Week 6 of NFL action.
The decision to pull the official data feed caused several sportsbooks to pull their in-game betting feature, while others used non-official data to secure live betting during the Week 5 games.
In advance of a September 30th deadline, Sportradar warned sportsbooks in Las Vegas that they would pull the plug on in-game data for the NFL and MLB official data feeds if they did not pay an additional fee to the information company.
Although Sportradar has threatened to deny the in-game data to non-paying sportsbooks before, the recent blackout is the first time that the company has followed through and withheld the data from gaming companies.
In the weeks before the 2019 NFL season began, Sportradar and the professional football league struck a new deal where the information company received exclusive rights to the league’s in-game statistics.
Before the agreement in August, sportsbooks that had a deal with Sportradar before their relationship with the NFL began were offered an arrangement to keep the data stream flowing for just $5,000.
Major sports leagues have attempted with little success to force sportsbooks in multiple states to pay what is known as an integrity fee for their in-game official data. The fees have largely been denied by legislators in states because casino lobbyists have warned that the fees would kill the gaming company’s profit margins.
But as more and more sportsbook companies enter into agreements with these professional leagues, agreeing to pay a predetermined fee for the in-game data, other companies have resisted the pressure to play ball.
Although some sportsbooks felt that the freeze-out was a misunderstanding due to slow paperwork return, other companies believe that Sportradar represents another obstacle for the books to return a solid profit.
For the sportsbooks that are holding out from paying Sportradar’s fees, the concern is that the company is the only provider of in-game NFL data.
“If you have one provider, they have an opportunity to increase prices over time as they see fit,” a sportsbook executive told Sports Handle. “That’s the main issue to all of this.”
SportBusiness reports that Sportradar is charging sportsbooks in between 1.5% to 2% on the book’s in-play Gross Gaming Revenues or (GGR) on all NFL wagers.
It seems that annoyances aside that the data company and the sportsbooks will make up so that the two parties can offer the in-game betting for the remainder of 2019.
However, sportsbooks expect that Sportradar will re-open negotiations during the offseason with the price tag possibly becoming higher than the current rates.
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