Illinois regulator launches sports betting licensing process

The state of Illinois is making progress on sports betting.

On Thursday, the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) issued emergency rules to launch the first phase of the state’s sports wagering licensing process.

With the emergency rules in place, the IGB can begin accepting applications for the various sports betting licenses available.

In a statement, Illinois Gaming Board Administrator Marcus Fruchter said: “Today’s release of applications and phase 1 rules is a significant step in the process the General Assembly and Governor Pritzker began earlier this year – the ethical and transparent implementation of sports wagering in Illinois.”

The different licenses available

The IGB have now made master sports wagering, official league data supplier, management service provider, supplier and occupational licenses available to companies hoping to enter the Illinois sports betting market.

According to the applications, a sports betting license for a sports venue will cost $10m and will run for four years and can be renewed at the end for another four-year period for $1m. Licensees covered under the Illinois Horseracing Act of 1975 and were issued a license prior to 28 June 2019, will be required to pay either 5% of their 2018 handle or $2.3m, whichever is greater.

Licensees covered under the Illinois Gambling Act prior to 28 June 2019 that hope to apply for a sports betting licenses will have to pay 5% of adjusted gross receipts from 2018, this will not exceed $10m.

Operators licensed after the Illinois Gambling Act that receive approval for a sports betting license must pay an initial licensing fee of $5m or 5% of adjusted gross receipts from the first 12 months of gambling operation, whichever is greater.

The journey to launch

The regulator held a 30-day public comment period in August and September where stakeholders could voice any concerns, they had about Illinois’ regulation.

Fruchter said: “IGB staff used responses from the comment period to inform the rules and also derived best practices from states where sports wagering is already being conducted in order to develop a regulatory framework and implementation process that are right for Illinois and will protect the public interest.”

Now that the licensing process is underway, the regulator will begin work on drafting sports betting rules and regulations. These are expected to be released in early 2020.

The IGB has yet to confirm a launch date for sports betting operations.

Legal betting in Illinois

In July, Governor J.B Pritzker signed Illinois’ gambling expansion bill into law, making Illinois the fifth state to legalize sports betting in 2019. As well as legalizing sports betting, the bill allowed for the launch of six new land-based casinos and a large casino venue in Chicago.

Under the state’s sports betting laws wagering on collegiate sporting events that are held in the state will be prohibited. The sports leagues will also have the ability to place restrictions on certain types of bets in the state.

The legislation also authorizes the roll-out of slot machines at various racetracks and the O’Hare and Midway airports.

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