Sports bettors in the Land of Lincoln will soon be able to place a bet on their favorite team like the Bears, Cubs, White Sox & Blackhawks after Illinois last week joined the big sports betting states like Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, Mississippi, Rhode Island and New York as states that have adopted legalized sports betting.
The wave of legal sports betting that has continued to roll across the mainland United States over the last two weeks has continued with Illinois legislators making Senate Bill 690 law. The Illinois General Assembly delivered first-term Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s imaginative agenda as the State Senate voted to set out upon a huge state wide gambling expansion that includes a Chicago casino and legalized sports betting to pay for new roads, bridges and public buildings.
Looking at what we already know now the State of Illinois’ 800-plus page piece of critical lawmaking and assistance for the fledgling sports betting industry, we examine the legislation more thoroughly and put our bets on who we believe we be are the winners and losers.
Illinois Sports Betting Law Basics
The critical thesis underlying the new sports betting law is the green light to go ahead and begin construction immediately on six new bricks-and-mortar casinos in the Land of Lincoln. Each of the newly-approved casino venues will be in the running to receive a sportsbook license, in addition to being permitted to operate casino games. Illinois’ new law will also permit the installation of slot machines at Chicago’s two major airports. It will feel a lot like jetting into Vegas for a while for many long-time gaming tourists.
Critically and most importantly for the parochial Illinois sports fans, the new law will allow for betting on their favorite sports teams without running afoul of law enforcement. In addition to the new casinos, existing Illinois State Casinos will all be given the opportunity to purchase the appropriate license that will open the door to legal sports betting.
Moreover, any sporting venue or approved facility that can hold a required minimum number of spectators will be also eligible for a legal sports betting license. Bears fans attending a game at Soldier Field or Cubs fans at the iconic Wrigley Field may soon be able to bet on all types of sporting events during their visits, in addition to placing wagers on the games they have turned up to watch.
Senate Bill 690 is expected to infuse roughly $12 billion in revenue fees (and a sports betting license fees costing somewhere between $3 million to $20 million dollars apiece) into the Illinois state economy over the next six years.
A massive number of state wide programs including welfare, housing, roads and infrastructure, police and fire services etc. are all expected to benefit.
On the down side, the new law does not allow for wagers to be placed on any games involving the state’s NCAA sports teams.
Online Sports Betting to Start Slowly in Illinois
It is widely anticipated that there will be hot competition for the three online-only sports betting licenses that Illinois will issue to the lucky recipients after the initial 18-trial month period. These licenses won’t come cheap, so we’re expecting big sports betting market players from New Jersey like 888Sport, or the NJ and PA sportsbook and online casino behemoth SugarHouse will come in armed with their $20 million each for the privilege.
However, it’ll be 18 months before they become available for online players, so watch this space and we will let you know as time unfolds, and Illinois launch dates become apparent.