Last updated: June 1, 2020
Status: A bill to legalize sports betting in Illinois was passed by the Senate on Sunday, June 3, 2019, and was signed off by Governor J.B. Pritzker at the end of that month.
ETA: As a result of the decision in June, sports betting is now legal and sportsbooks will be operating in the state in 2020.
The quest to bring legal sports betting to Illinois began 18 months ago when five sports betting bills were filed in a span of six weeks, making the state the favorite to be the first to legalize sports betting in 2018. But by the time the Supreme Court had struck down an existing federal statute and paved the way for legal sports betting across the USA in May, progress in Illinois had stalled.
None of the bills made it out of the committee stage in 2018, but things started to move forward in 2019 as lawmakers set about drafting new bills to address the concerns of the main stakeholders.
By June, Senate Bill 690, sponsored by Senator Terry Link, finally made it to the chamber and was voted through by a 46-10 majority. The bill paves the way for six new casinos as well as legalized sports betting at casinos, racetracks and online. Racetracks will also be permitted to install table games and slot machines.
As part of the deal, Illinois sports betting operators will also be required to purchase official data from sports leagues in order to set prices on in-play bets. Online fantasy sports betting giants such as FanDuel and DraftKings will be required to partner and operate under the brand of existing Illinois casinos for the first 18 months.
Gambling in Illinois began in the 1800s when riverboats hosted unlicensed casino and poker games. The first gambling legislation arrived in 1920 when pari-mutuel betting on horse races was legalized. This proved to be very popular and highlighted the appetite for gambling amongst Illinois residents.
On July 1, 1974, Illinois became one of the first states to launch a lottery, with proceeds directed to the state education fund. Today, the funds are diverted to a host of different areas. Gaming for charitable purposes was given the green light in 1986, with bingo and raffle games included in the legislation.
The fabled riverboats returned in 1991 after a law was passed that allowed them to trade while moving on the river. However, they were not permitted on Lake Michigan. In 1999, the law was amended to allow stationary riverboat casinos.
In 2001, Illinois became the first state to open an online lottery and in 2011, video gaming machines were also permitted in bars and truck-stops.
Yes, a sports betting bill has been passed in Illinois and it is now legal. Sportsbooks will begin to operate later in 2020.
An age limit of 21 or over will be applied to sports betting in Illinois.
The bill allows sports betting at casinos and racetracks as well as venues with capacities of more than 17,000 such as sports stadiums. Mobile betting will also be available. However, major online operators will have to wait 18 months before they can launch under their own brand and accept online registrations.
The states riverboat casinos will be first in line for licenses.
There are no operators currently offering legal sports betting in Illinois, but that should change in the coming weeks.
Yes, the bill that passed in June 2019 includes provision for mobile sports betting.
Indian Creek Democratic and bill sponsor Senator Terry Link has suggested sports betting could be worth up to $2 billion a year to the state of Illinois, although the Governor has budgeted for $217 million in revenue.
A tax rate of 15% will apply to both brick-and-mortar facilities and to online operators.
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