Illinois Legislature Paves Way For Additional Sports Betting

Last Summer, sports betting in the state of Illinois was declared legal by the state legislature. The state has now awarded temporary sportsbook licenses to six casino locations within their borders to offer sports betting. They cannot take bets at the moment, but they are preparing their operations to begin accepting wagers once the legislature has ironed out all the details.

Is Illinois all-in, ready to expand sports gaming, and prepared to collect the precious additional tax revenue that it will produce? It would seem that additional sportsbooks are in the state’s best interest, fiscally speaking, but the legal process has been slow thus far as legislators try and work out the details of regulating sports gaming.

The new sportsbooks hope to be up and running in time for betting on March Madness. Initial hopes were that the new sportsbooks could be fully operational in time to allow for betting on Super Bowl 54, but the game has come and gone, and so has a large pile of cash that the state could have taken in for taxing the action.

Time is of the essence. The NCAA Tournament begins in a few days, and Illinois will miss out on what could end up being millions in betting revenue if sportsbooks aren’t active in time.

Current Sportsbook License Holders

  • The Hollywood Casino – Aurora
  • The Hollywood Casino – Joliet
  • The Par-A-Dice Hotel and Casino – East Peoria
  • Rivers Casino – Des Plaines
  • The Grand Victoria Casino – Elgin
  • The Argosy Casino Alton – Alton

Casinos Pending Application Approval

  • Fairmount Park Racetrack in Collinsville

Although the state is anxious to get in on the additional income that betting on college basketball will provide, the new gaming law prohibits betting on any college teams that are located within Illinois. Betting on any collegiate athletic contest that involves teams outside of Illinois is perfectly legal.

There are three more casinos and two more racetracks that are eligible to apply for sportsbooks licenses. With the NFL adopting a policy that allows for betting lounges at stadiums side states where sports betting has been regulated, an application from Soldier Field in Chicago is expected.

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that Governor J.B. Pritzker is pushing the gambling initiative to fund the state infrastructure. Ultimately, $2.5 billion is in the plan to repair roads and bridges across the state of Illinois over the next five years.

Financial analysts have predicted that the annual state intake from regulated wagering would total in the neighborhood of $200 million. There’s some fuzzy math going on in Illinois, as the infrastructure project would require roughly 13 years’ worth of revenue.

By that time, Illinois roads and bridges will be in disrepair again, and the state will have likely paid interest on the previous repair.