When Inside Injuries launched in 2016, the company was intended to supply fantasy sports players and companies with injury analysis on top players across sports, CEO Tracy Hankin said. Sports betting wasn’t in the company’s sights.
A Supreme Court ruling in May, which struck down a federal law outlawing sports betting outside of Nevada, has changed all that. Now, as some states move to legalize sports gambling within their borders, Buckhead-based Inside Injuries is receiving interest from sportsbooks wanting to utilize their services.
Sports betting is illegal is Georgia, but Delaware and New Jersey already have legal sports betting taking place and Mississippi has legalized it, USA Today reports. Legislation is pending in other states as they look to capitalize on an industry which is expected to be worth $41.2 billion a year in the U.S., according to an Oxford study.
Inside Injuries has obvious applications to gambling. The company employs medical doctors and data specialists who put together comprehensive reports and scores which evaluate a player’s injury and his or her ability to play in the future.
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While Inside Injuries has some competitors, none are as comprehensive as Inside Injuries, Hankin said. The site provides both written reports and a scoring system for most major professional sports leagues, including the NFL, NBA and MLB. Inside Injuries has proven to be accurate as well, with the company boasting an 80 percent accuracy rate in its projections during the 2017 NFL season.
The need for reliable injury information in the NFL has increased since 2016, when the league changed its injury report policies. Now, teams only have to list a player who has not been ruled out as “questionable” or “doubtful” instead of the previous options of probable, questionable or doubtful. This make a player’s status in an injury report much less clear.
Inside Injuries is a Georgia-based company which could have a direct stake in sports gambling. Others, such as Atlanta-based daily fantasy company Performance Predictions, are seeing indirect benefits of new gaming activities.
Adam Wexler, the founder of Performance Predictions, said his company, and the daily fantasy sports industry at large, have seen an increase in attention and investment since the Supreme Court ruling.
Daily fantasy currently operates in 40 states, including Georgia, where it is not illegal but has been identified by the attorney general as illegal gambling because players can win or lose money by playing. But while some daily fantasy operators, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, are offering their games to casinos and sportsbooks, Wexler said his company is going to stay in its current lane for the time being.
Inside Injuries has not yet entered into any contract or agreement with any sportsbooks or gaming companies, Hankin said, but the company sees the betting aspect as potentially becoming on-par with its fantasy operations. Ultimately, bettors want to know not only what injury a player suffered, but how it will impact a player’s ability on the field or court.
“If Julio Jones hurt his foot, you want to know how that’s going to impact his ability to play,” Hankin said.
A company based out of Georgia, where sports betting is illegal, facilitating sports gambling does bring up legal questions. A decades-old federal law could complicate efforts by companies to take part in sports betting operations outside the state.
According to Jennifer Roberts, a law professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas with expertise in gaming law, the Wire Act, a 1961 federal law, restricts the transmission of bets across state lines. Even if the sports betting operation is a legal one happening in Delaware or New Jersey, companies could still find themselves in trouble for operating between states depending on how the law is interpreted.
Transmitting information aiding sports betting, such as injury information, across state lines is legal if sports betting is legal in the jurisdictions involved. But sports betting remains illegal in Georgia.
Hankin said Inside Injuries is evaluating the legal framework of operating in the betting space, adding that the company is headquartered in Atlanta but incorporated in Delaware. Those legal questions need to be answered before Inside Injuries joins the growing world of sports betting.
“We definitely need to feel out the landscape a little more before we jump into anything,” Hankin said.