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The Delays in Legalizing Sports Betting in Illinois and When it is Set to Start 0

In 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States decided to make sports betting legal throughout the country by striking the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. This decision has made many states make a move when it comes to legalizing sports betting.

Currently, states like New York, Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, and West Virginia are some of the few states that have already legalized sports betting. Meanwhile, states like Colorado, California, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Maryland, and New Delhi already have bills introduced regarding the legislation of sports betting, but not yet passed.

Illinois, however, has a different story. In June 2019, a bill regarding sports betting was passed in Illinois. However, Illinois seems to have been taking a long time to launch sports betting within its borders. Although the recent goal is to have it launched by 2020.

It was Governor JB Pritzker who legalized sports betting in Illinois. The sports betting law in Illinois allows both physical and state-wide mobile sports betting. This law also allows betting on-location at venues like the Wrigley Field.

The Bill that was passed and signed into law by Pritzker in Illinois is the SB690 that consists of 816 pages. This also includes an infrastructure plan worth 45 billion US dollars. Included in this bill is the call for 6 new casinos in the state. 

The legalization of sports betting in this state may have sounded as immediate good news for sportsbooks, but there is a so-called “bad actor” clause in the bill that keeps bookies like FanDuel and DraftKings out of the state for at least 18 months.

It’s a penalty period that gives local casinos a chance to get ahead of such online giants. During these 18 months, out-of-state providers will be partnered with in-state racetracks, casinos, and sporting venues. The giant bookies can only take over after that period. 

Before they even get to do that, they will need to secure a wagering license in Illinois that is priced at 20 million US dollars. Another catch is that the bettors will be required to first visit and register in a physical or land-based casino. After signing up in a physical casino, bettors can then place bets online wherever they are in the state.

The problem with dragging the launch of sports betting in Illinois is that they are missing out on revenues. Two neighboring states of Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana are already allowing legal bets. Basically, Illinois is already losing revenues to these states.

When sports betting does go live in Illinois in 2020, it is expected that residents from areas like Missouri, Kentucky, and Wisconsin will be the one traveling to Illinois to place their bets. However, with how slow things are going, it’s more likely that sports betting in Michigan will go live first.

Recently, Illinois held a month-long comment period regarding this. It ended on September 27th and many impatient bettors shared their thoughts about the slow movement. Here are a few notable comments that they received from the public: 

“I also want to point out that there is a stigma around sports betting that is unwarranted,” a resident wrote. “The idea of a gambler losing his life savings and getting his legs broke by a mobster is a myth in today’s climate.”

“Ease up on restrictions. Protect athletes.”

“And get a move on, already.”

“Don’t try and reinvent the wheel, ask the experts out in Vegas how to run a [sportsbook].”

There were many blunt recommendations and these just show how impatient the bettors are becoming when it comes to launching it in the state. However, there are still a few residents who expressed their uncertainties and dislike of this.

“I’m disgusted that sports gambling, a long-time activity that was profitable for the mob, is now legalized. So, please have strict rules to prevent underage gambling, to limit or prohibit advertising, to address availability at all hours on mobile devices, and to prevent money laundering,” expressed by one resident.

The comment period basically helped the government get a pulse from the people of Illinois regarding the matter. This might have pressured the government to act on the launch quicker. Another pressing event is the Super Bowl happening in the first quarter of 2020.

It’s still unsure whether fans and bettors can already place their bets locally by this time. In the meantime, it’s likely that they’ll be visiting nearby states like Iowa and Indiana to place their bets for this. 



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