Genius Sports Lands XFL Gambling Integrity Agreement
Vince McMahon’s upstart professional football league signed a multiyear deal with Genius Sports this week. The agreement is designed to provide the XFL with an organizational integrity program featuring sports betting monitoring systems and educational resources.
According to Bloomberg, Genius Sports will provide around-the-clock monitoring of XFL betting markets focused on detecting unusual activity. The company will also lead educational workshops – for players, coaches and other XFL stakeholders – which are designed to keep the league free of any betting scandals.
The XFL begins its new season shortly after the NFL’s Super Bowl in February, with the upstart league’s eight teams already mobilizing this month for training camp and other preseason activities. The XFL also launches months after the Alliance of American Football, another spring alternative to the NFL, folded without finishing its first season.
U.S. Sports Betting Landscape Much Different Than 2001
The XFL will kick off the new season 19 years after McMahon’s original XFL operated for one season in 2001 and folded. Operating as a joint venture between McMahon’s professional wrestling company WWE and American television network NBC, the XFL attempted to become a competitor to the NFL but just couldn’t find any traction among mainstream sports fans.
Now, the XFL returns as a new incarnation, presumedly with many lessons learned from the previous failure but also launching during a time when the U.S. sports betting scene is exploding.
Almost 20 years ago when the XFL first appeared, the U.S. federal ban on sports betting was still in place. New Jersey took the matter all the way to the Supreme Court more than a decade later. The court finally overturned the ban in May 2018. In the wake of that landmark decision, 20 states take legal sports bets or are set to do so in 2020. More states appear to be on their way.
Genius Sports’ Long History of Integrity Programs
Genius Sports now adds the XFL to its already robust list of integrity partners all over the world, to which the company provides similar services. Genius Sports announced a partnership with the LPGA Tour last year, adding the U.S.-based professional golf league to go alongside its various other deals with the PGA, NCAA, NASCAR, golf’s European Tour, England’s FA (soccer) and Euroleague basketball, among others.
For those leagues, as well as the XFL after the new agreement, Genius Sports provides round-the-clock bet monitoring, educational services, integrity audits and independent oversight. The aim is to keep competitions fair, transparent and unfettered by illegal gambling practices that could cause major problems for professional sports leagues.
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