Illinois Starts Up the Process of Legalizing Sports Betting

A newlegislature in being put in place, to bring sports betting to Illinois. According to, it would take weeks for all parties who are interested to get their opinions to lawmakers. However, the process has already started, with a House Revenue and Finance Committee hearing, which entailed more than three hours of testimony.

It can be recalled that New Jersey recently had a Supreme Court victory on the legalization of sports betting, since then, many other states such as Illinois have started trying to develop the industry, as reported on ESPN.

At the Illinois hearing, opinions were given by representatives of the state’s gambling, horse racing, sports, and technological industries, whilethe committee members, tried to balance these opinions.Industry representatives were expected to choose the best of five different plans to legalize sports betting. Those plans, if all goes well, would be actualized in five separate amendments.

The five plans can be divided into two categories.Four of the plans would have legalized sports gambling overseen by the Illinois Gambling Board. One of the plans is to put all sports betting in the state under the Illinois Lottery’s authority. BettingUSA reports a number of betting sites in Illinois already working, as certain forms of online betting are already permitted, namely horse racing betting and fantasy sports in Illinois.

Rep. Lisa Hernandez, D-Cicero who led the advocates for the lottery plan says it could benefit the more than 10,000 small retailers, such as convenience stores and gas stations that already sell Lottery tickets. On the contrary, this plan doesn't allow for hugely popular online or mobile betting and can limit the types of bets that can be made. Sports betting is illegal in Illinois at this time, but lawmakers have shown some interest in changing that. Two bills were introduced in 2018 seeking to legalize sports betting if the federal prohibition is ended. HB 4214 is a simple placeholder bill while SB 2478 establishes the Sports Betting Consumer Protection Act. The plan would allow sports betting at the state’s brick-and-mortar casinos and race tracks, and online as well.

The betting licenses would be priced $10 million, while brick-and-mortar facilities could also partner with up to two digital platforms, or “skins,” to provide mobile betting. Taxes would also be 15 percent on the brick-and-mortar facilities, and 20 percent for mobile platforms.SB 2478 lacks details regarding regulations, licensing conditions, and tax rates and passes the forming of regulations on to a state agency. Which agency that will be is left unsaid in the bill, but that too will be decided at a later point. The goal in the short term is to simply end the state-level prohibition of sports betting and then figure out the rest later.

MattiasStetz, chief operating officer of Chicago-based Rush Street Interactive, an affiliate of the gaming company running the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, quoted on the southern, agrees on ending the prohibition on sports betting.Stetz said that more than 80 percent of February’s sports betting in New Jersey took place online. But, he argued, brick-and-mortar facilities should be allowed only one skin. As such, Stetz favored a plan similar to the New Jersey model plan.


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