PlayUSA Rewind: Bill Allowing Betting On In-State Schools Passes Through Illinois House

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on June 3, 2021 - Last Updated on March 7, 2022

It’s a short week, but it’s time to unwind with some more gambling news courtesy of the PlayUSA Rewind.

This week, new Illinois sports betting laws, Maine joins the betting conversation, and Bally’s Corporation finishes its acquisition of sports betting provider Bet.Works.

For even more coverage, be sure and follow @VisitPlayUSA | @reporternickg | @brantjames for all the latest insights.

On the rewind:

Betting on Illinois college teams close to legalization

A bill allowing wagering on in-state colleges passed through the Illinois House of Representatives this week.

One of the major pitfalls of legal sportsbooks in Illinois has been the customer’s inability to place bets on local teams. The issue was front and center during the NCAA Tournament when No. 1 seed the University of Illinois matched up against Loyola Chicago in the second round.

The bill, SB 521, repeals the ban but only permits customers to place bets on in-state schools in person. This means, depending on your location in Illinois, you would have to travel to a physical casino to place a bet.

But when one bill passes, another will fall.

In this case, HB 3142, otherwise known as the Illinois Gaming Act, failed to get enough traction to pass during the legislative session. The bill attempted to legalize online casino games in the state.

The takeaway: The amount of clout the casino industry holds in Illinois will allow it to continue to influence laws like these. Giving customers the chance to bet on in-state schools is one thing; making them do so in-person when online sports betting is legal is something else.

Maine finds its sports betting bill

After lengthy deliberation, a Maine sports betting bill is finally on the table.

The bill, LD1352, comes with a $100,000 two-year license, 16% mobile tax, and 10% retail tax. Additionally, the state’s two casinos, two race tracks, and four OTB’s can host up to three mobile skins.

A hurdle to legal sports betting in Maine will be keeping Gov. Janet Mills on board. Last year’s veto override was derailed after Mills swayed her fellow Democrats to vote against the bill.

The takeaway: Maine’s only sports betting competition is New Hampshire which is controlled by DraftKings. To the North, there is Canada which is slowly getting on board with sports betting. Maine is in a position to capitalize on its current gambling situation by adding sports betting.

Bally’s Corp. finalizes betting platform acquisition

Bally’s Corp. announced its $125 million acquisition of Bet.Works, a sports betting platform provider, is complete.

Bet.Works provides its services to casinos in several states, including New Jersey and Colorado.

The plan to acquire Bet.Works began in November 2020. With the deal done, Bally’s will create a physical gaming division comprised of its casinos and entertainment properties, while Bally’s interactive will include the Bet.Works sports betting operations.

The takeaway: The finalization of this deal has been seven months in the making. Let’s not forget Bally’s also made a push to acquire Gamesys Group for $2.7 billion. Something tells me this company isn’t finished.

A new casino in Missouri?

According to spokesman Tim Hand, Osage River Gaming (ORG) is making a push to bring a casino to the Ozarks.

However, the gaming group will have to navigate tricky legislative waters.

Missouri has strict rules when it comes to building casinos. They must be within 1,000 feet of the Mississippi or Missouri rivers, and there’s a limited number of licenses. There are 13 casinos in that state, and a new license only comes available if one of those properties goes out of business.

According to the News Tribune, ORG has been active in efforts to amend the state constitution, even sponsoring a bill that would have prompted a statewide vote to decide if casinos “could be on the Osage River.”

The takeaway: From the gaming group’s perspective, the Ozarks is a more affluent tourist attraction. But it’s no easy task swaying politicians to change the state constitution. ORG’s first efforts failed, but it doesn’t sound like they are giving up anytime soon.

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San Antonio Spurs player part of WSOP main event

It appears Spurs legend Tony Parker has traded in his point-guard skills for poker chips.

Gregory Chochon, director of the WSOP for Caesars Entertainment, announced Parker is the first qualified player for the WSOP main event, which is slated to run from November 4-17 at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Parker earned an invitation to the $10,000 buy-in no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em event after winning the PM Group’s Texas Hold ‘Em Charity Poker tournament.

The takeaway: The Frenchman’s presence will add star power to an event that hasn’t seen in-person action in over a year. Additionally, let’s not forget that the WSOP Online 2021 event is scheduled to kick off on July 1.

Market Teasers

This week on Market Teasers, another lucrative acquisition lands Bally’s Corp. on the list. Joining Bally’s is none other than casino powerhouse MGM Resorts International, which recently partnered with hockey great Wayne Gretzky.

Bally’s Corporation

$BALY | $58.54 | 0.26% change

  • Back in April, Bally’s was trading at $67.03 per share. Is it time to buy the dip? The company may have lost out on the Richmond casino bid but its partnership with Sinclair Broadcasting Group and its Bet.Works acquisition will keep it trending high.

MGM Resorts International

$MGM | $43.23 | -0.49% change

  • It may not move the needle much, but the addition of Gretzky as a brand ambassador will provide an extra level to company marketing. With an expansion into Canada on the horizon, who better to lead the charge than one of the most decorated hockey players ever.

** Market Teasers is not financial advice, nor am I a financial advisor. All figures were taken on June 2, market close.

Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski / Associated Press
Nicholaus Garcia Avatar
Written by
Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago and Washington, D.C., writing about politics, financial markets, and sports betting. He graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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