The sports betting industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States, and new states are jumping on board all of the time. There are more than 10 states that currently offer sports betting, and several others have made it legal and are waiting to get things underway.
Illinois is one of the states that has legalized sports betting, but things haven’t really progressed since that time. Iowa launched sports betting last week, and Indiana is set to launch before the start of the NFL season. Things are taking a lot longer in Illinois, and it is going to cost them a lot of money in the Midwest.
What We Know
The Illinois General Assembly passed a bill to legalize sports betting in late May, and Governor JB Pritzker signed the bill into law. The bill put the Illinois Gaming Board in charge of overseeing the new industry in Illinois, but they are taking a lot longer than most people hoped or expected. The Illinois Gaming Board has yet to approve licenses for sports betting and has yet to announce an official start date.
The biggest problem with delaying sports betting at brick-and-mortar locations is that it is also delaying the opening of mobile or online sportsbooks in Illinois. The sports betting bill does not allow for mobile betting to be offered until at least 18 months after it has launched in their casinos. Other states that have legalized sports betting have made a ton of money with mobile betting, and Illinois is missing the boat.
State-licensed casinos will be given the opportunity to apply for a license to offer sports betting, but there are other locations who can as well. The new law allows for sports betting to be offered in and around the major sports stadiums in the state, with most of these arenas and stadiums being in Chicago.
Racetracks throughout the state of Illinois will also be allowed to offer sports betting but will have to be approved first. Any business that sells lottery tickets can also be approved for a license to take bets on sports on a much smaller scale. The legal age to bet on sports in Illinois is 21. There has been a lot of information shared in Illinois, but everyone in the state is anxiously awaiting the announcement of a start date.
Why the Delay?
It’s hard to really know and understand why launching sports betting is taking so long in Illinois as other states are getting it going in a hurry. Lawmakers in Illinois have made it known that they want to keep out DFS sites like DraftKings and FanDuel, but they are hurting themselves in the process.
Illinois has put too many rules and stipulations into this new bill, and it is hard for companies or establishments to get a sportsbook built. There are a handful of places that are ready to launch sports betting and have sportsbooks built, but they are still waiting on approval to do so. Illinois lawmakers were hoping to launch sports betting by the beginning of the NFL season, but it’s looking like it won’t happen until 2020.