Illinois Sports Betting Bills Remain Under Discussion

Illinois is one of several states in the US that is currently considering sports betting legislation. This week, the state is set to hear sports betting legislation in a subcommittee meeting. Amendments were recently filed for legislation by Representative Michael Zalewski that would replace five previous proposals to legalize sports betting. The changes create new licensing and tax fees in amounts that have never been seen before in the US.

Bill Changes

The amendments move the focus of sports betting legalization to H 1260. Zalewski is now the primary sponsor of the measure and it is being considered as the driving force behind efforts to legalize the industry. Changes to the amendment include no longer requiring players to register in person to take part in mobile wagering.

The bill will be heard during the House Sales, Amusement and Other Taxes Subcommittee with many stakeholders having a problem with the language now included in the legislation.

To begin, the first amendment that has been proposed would authorize riverboat casinos in the state to provide sports betting along with horse race tracks, off-track betting parlors, the lottery and video gaming operators.

Each stakeholder will have certain guidelines that must be followed. For example, a riverboat casino can offer sports betting, using one online skin or having one land-based location. Horse tracks can offer one online skin or have a book at three of their authorized off-track betting parlors.

Stakeholders are not happy that the guidelines will vary depending on who is offering the service.

Second Change

A second amendment will allow companies like FanDuel and DraftKings to apply for licensing at a higher price point due to a bad actor delay. This amendment also provides integrity fees and data usage from the sports leagues.

This amendment would have licensing costs of $15 million with a license going to the first seven applicants. Three online licenses will be up for grabs at a cost of $20 million each. A skin license will cost $5 million.  Taxes would be set at 25%. An integrity fee of 0.2% on sports betting handle would go to the leagues.

Stakeholders are not happy with the extremely high fees and tax rate. The Illinois Casino Gaming Association is speaking out against the price points, showing examples of how other states are charging much less. In other states, tax rates don’t even reach the 10% mark and licensing fees are at around $100,000.

The Association is calling the high fees outrageous. Even if the bill was able to pass with this amendment, stakeholders may not even attempt to offer services because they don’t want to pay the higher cost to begin.

The many changes to the sports betting legislation in Illinois will most likely cause even more delay. There will be too many against the changes and not enough support to see the measures push through. We will see by the end of the week or into next week, if the legislation can continue to move forward or if additional changes will be made to finally see the state becom


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.