Until recently, sports betting was illegal in more than half of the US states. But following the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in 2018, most of those states legalized it and opened regulated markets. But in some states, there are restrictions that prevent sports bettors from placing wagers on the games they’re most interested in. This is called “Official Betting” and it’s an effort by leagues to retain control over sports betting data in their regulated markets.

In a way, this is just another tactic for sports leagues to increase their revenue streams, as they continue to look for ways to justify their massive compensation packages. The NFL, for example, makes billions of dollars a year on its fantasy leagues and other gambling-related activities. And MLB is expected to make even more with its new betting partnership with FanDuel and DraftKings.

However, despite this money, leagues have not yet proven the value of their official data for regulated sports betting. In fact, many operators have successfully operated their regulated sports betting products without it. This is largely due to the speed at which real-time data can flow into an operator’s system. There are a few key players in the real-time data space, and most major leagues have forged deals with them. Two of the most prominent are Sportradar and Genius Sports. And while there may be some merit to the arguments that leagues are charging too much for their data, it remains to be seen how valuable it is.

As more states legalize and open their sportsbooks, this trend will only accelerate. It’s already a reality in Ohio, where sports bettors can place wagers at retail and online sportsbooks. The state’s online sportsbooks launched in January 2023. In Illinois, sports bettors can place their wagers through a variety of sites, including SugarHouse, DraftKings, BetRivers, and PointsBet.

And in Indiana, the sports betting industry launched quickly following the Supreme Court’s ruling. The state’s retail sportsbooks opened in September 2019, and online and mobile betting launched in October of that same year. BetRivers and DraftKings were the first to launch, followed by FanDuel a month later.

The state of Missouri is an exception to this rule, and it’s a situation that should be watched closely. Currently, the only legal option for sports betting in Missouri is through offshore operators, and the state’s residents are being denied access to legal, domestic sports betting options. This is a serious issue that could lead to a lawsuit, and it’s one that lawmakers should pay close attention to in the near future. Hopefully, it will be resolved soon.