Illinois legislature approves sports betting legislation

On 2 June, the Illinois legislature approved a gambling expansion bill that would legalize land-based and online sports betting.

The House approved the bill, SB 690, with a vote of 87-27 on Saturday and the Senate approved the bill a day later with a vote of 46-10.

The bill will now head to Governor J.B. Pritzker for final approval.

What does the bill include?

SB 690 would authorize sports betting at land-based casinos, racetracks and online in the state of Illinois.

If the bill is approved by the Governor, the Illinois Gaming Board will able to issue six different types of license to operators that wish to offer sports betting in Illinois: a master sports wagering license, supplier license, management services provider license, occupational license, central system provider license and a tier two official league data provider license.

Each of the licenses will apply to different aspects of sports betting in Illinois.

A master license will cover land-based and online sports betting and will run for four years and can be renewed for an additional four years for $1m. The fee for a master license will be set at 5% of the license holders total sports betting handle from the upcoming calendar year up to a maximum of $10m.

Master license holders will be subject to a tax rate of 15% on adjusted gross sports betting receipts on a monthly basis. Tax revenue will be deposited into the Sports Wagering Fund which will also be created as part of SB 690.

Similar to the Tennessee sports betting bill, operators in Illinois will be required to use official data provided by the sports leagues.

The bill places a blanket ban on betting on college games that are held in the state. On top of this, the bill empowers the sports leagues and colleges to implement restrictions on the types of bets that can be placed in the state.

Apart from sports betting, the bill will allow the construction of six new casinos across the state.

Online betting in Illinois

Despite legalizing online betting in Illinois, the bill favors land-based casinos in the state.

If the bill is approved, online-only operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel will have to wait 18 months until they can launch betting operations in Illinois.

In May, the billionaire owner of Rivers Casino, Neil Bluhm, asked lawmakers to create a “penalty box” for DraftKings and FanDuel as he believed the companies were operating their daily fantasy sports service in the state illegally.

As a result of this, punters will be left with a significantly smaller selection of bookies to bet with once the state legalizes sports betting.

After SB 690 was approved, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins tweeted: “While it is good to see sports betting bills passed, excluding DraftKings and FanDuel is like passing a ride sharing bill that excludes Uber and Lyft. Very disappointing that Illinois customers will not have the best options available to them for 18 months.”

What will happen now?

Now that the legislature has approved the bill, it will be sent to Governor J.B Pritzker for final approval later this month.

It is likely that Pritzker will sign the bill into law as he has been pushing for the legalization of sports betting in order to help finance several projects in the state.


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