Illinois Has Many Paths That Lead to Regulated Sports Betting

Summary: Sports betting will hopefully be legalized in Illinois now that four different paths have been introduced within the state House.

With several states already offering sports betting, many others are trying pass legislation to get in on the action. In Illinois, there are currently four different ways that sports betting can become a reality via the state House. Options vary so surely lawmakers will be able to find one approach that works for everyone.

Four Options

Governor of the state, J.B. Pritzker, focused on sports betting legalization within his campaign for the seat. He wants to see legislation passed before the current sessions ends this May. In the new budget year spending plan, the governor has placed $200 million within the package due to sports betting licensing.

This week, lawmakers plan to introduce not one, not two bur four plans for sports betting in the state. Lawmakers will have plenty of options and negotiations will take place to hopefully see some type of plan come to fruition.

According to state representative Mike Zalewski, the ideas for sports betting will be a starting point for negotiations to begin. Three of the plans to be suggested follow guidelines that were created by Pritzker. They would limit the number of licenses up for grabs and have a cost of $10 million each.

Where each plan varies is those who are eligible to apply as well as how much the state would earn from such operations. With the fourth plan, the state Department of the Lottery would be in charge of the new industry. This could potentially see many betting sites created in the state.

One plan under consideration is quite restrictive. It is based on the law in New Jersey, offering up only 13 licenses. Each land based casino and horse track would be eligible to pally. Online sports betting platforms could also obtain licensing. With this plan, the state would be given a 15% cut from adjusted gross receipts of operations for land based and 20% for online.

Representative Katie Stuart has a plan suggested, one based on the law in Mississippi. This plan would allow wagers to be placed at off-track betting facilities. There would be 10 licenses offered for online wagering and the operators must be connected to a land-based casino.

With the plan suggested by Stuart, the state would receive 15% from both online and land-based wagering. She places the Illinois Gaming Board in charge of the new industry.

Decisions, Decisions

With the negotiations, it seems lawmakers will have to find common ground as to who will be in charge as well as who will be able to take part. The casinos want to be involved of course as well as horse tracks and operators of video gambling. Issues have arisen in the past involving gambling expansions due to creating new casino licensing. The governor is hoping to keep sports betting separate from other issues so they can see legislation passed into law without delay.

If a bill is brought to the desk of Pritzker by the spring, the state could be the next to launch sports betting in the US. The governor is ready to do business so hopefully lawmakers will be able to push forward and create a bill that works for everyone.


Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.