Official betting involves placing wagers on games that have been sanctioned by a sports league. It’s a big business, with some states taking bets on over a billion dollars worth of sports events annually. The sports leagues have forged partnerships with gaming companies, including sportsbooks, that allow them to use their data and branding in their betting products. The four major North American sports leagues also have ambassador programs where players can enter endorsement pacts with gambling brands and make appearances in advertising campaigns. Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid is one such brand ambassador.
Bettors can place money lines on either team to win a game or the total number of points scored in a contest. The odds on each side are listed with the higher number denoting the favorite, and lower the underdog. For example, in a basketball game, the Atlanta Hawks may have +160 odds to win while the New York Knicks are -140.
Iowa legalized sports betting in 2019 and multiple operators began offering online and retail betting at the end of that summer. The state’s laws allow bettors to place wagers on pro and collegiate teams, with restrictions involving in-state college teams.
Two major propositions on California’s November 2022 ballot aimed to legalize in-person and online sports betting. However, both were voted down, and it’s unclear whether the issue will be brought up again in 2023.