Sports Betting Bill Approved By Illinois Legislature — Here’s What To Know

Posted on June 3, 2019 - Last Updated on October 29, 2020

Illinois is a governor’s signature away from becoming the next state to legalize sports betting.

In classic Illinois fashion, House lawmakers voted at the last possible second to make gambling expansion part of a massive $44 billion capital funding package on Saturday. The Senate approved the package a day later.

After numerous hours of deliberation, closed-door deals and extensive arguing, the bill now heads to the desk of the newly elected Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Inside the Illinois licensing structure

Language in S 690, sponsored by Rep. Robert Rita, allows casinos, racetracks, and sports venues to offer both in-person and online sports betting.

However, in-person registration is required for the first 18 months. Additionally, the bill permits a lottery implementation of around 2,500 locations.

There will be six types of sports betting licenses:

  • Master sports wagering
  • Occupational
  • Supplier
  • Management service provider
  • Tier 2 official data provider
  • Central system provider
  • Sports betting details

One of the major takeaways from the new sports betting bill is the use of official league data for props and in-play wagering.

Illinois will be the second state behind Tennessee to force operators to use a specific data provider as approved by professional sports leagues. Also, residents will be prohibited from betting on in-state collegiate sports teams such as Northwestern and the University of Illinois.

The price of a master sports betting license will be calculated based on gross gaming revenue from the previous year.

  • Casinos will pay 5 percent of that number for four years, up to a maximum of $10 million, to offer sports betting.
  • The tax rate will be 15 percent of revenue.
  • There will be three online-only licenses priced at $20 million awarded on a delay via a competitive process.

Additionally, daily fantasy sports (DFS) companies such as FanDuel and DraftKings will be allowed to offer sports betting, but not under their own brand until and if they get one of those online-only licenses.

It should be noted, only master sports betting licensees can offer online wagering for the first 18 months.

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Extra gambling provisions

With the help of the General Assembly, the rookie governor was able to pass a $40.6 billion budget plan.

With legal online sports betting live in Illinois, it becomes the third state in the Midwest to pass a sports betting bill and will most certainly be one of the most watched markets moving forward.

Iowa and Indiana were able to pass legislation earlier this year.

The Land of Lincoln already has 10 casinos, but the crown jewel will eventually be the long-awaited Chicago casino complete with 4,000 gaming positions.

It’s premature to speculate when any gaming expansion will take place. But once the bill is signed, the clock starts.

Nicholaus Garcia Avatar
Written by
Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago, writing about local politics, and in Washington, D.C., covering the expanding gambling industry. Now back in Chicago, he continues to write about the emerging sports betting market with a focus on the Midwest. Originally from West Texas, he graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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