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Illinois Sports Betting

Joey Shadeck

Each state has the power to legalize sports betting due to the Supreme Court overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. This decision was made in May of 2018. Since then New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Mississippi, New Mexico, Montana, Iowa, Tennessee, Indiana have all legalized sports betting to some extent.

Illinois Sports Betting

Illinois passed sports betting legislation at the 11th hour of their legislative session, surprising many people who doubted the bill would reach the Governor's desk. Members of the Illinois General Assembly worked overtime on to get Senate Bill 690 passed on June 2nd, 2019. Governor J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign the bill in June 2019, as he has already endorsed it verbally.

Senate Bill 690 legalizes Illinois sports betting online and in-person at casinos, racetracks, and sports venues. The Illinois Lottery will also run a pilot program for sports betting. Residents of Illinois will have to register in-person at a casino to bet with a mobile device. In-person registration is only for the first 18 months of Illinois sports betting. Illinois sports betting is expected to be up and running by the start of the 2019 NFL season.

Sports betting operators will be charged a tax rate of 15%. The bill also adds six new casinos throughout the state. These casinos will be located in Chicago, Danville, Rockford, Waukegan, and Williamson.

One of the more interesting provisions of Illinois sports wagering is the ability of the sports facilities to offer betting. Stadiums such as Wrigley Field and Soldier Field can apply for a master sports wagering license. This license would grant them access to offer sports betting in-house or within a five-block radius of the facility. It is unclear whether this type of sports betting would be done by a betting kiosk, mobile app, or another medium. Licenses cost 5% of gross gaming revenue up to a maximum of $10 million in a four year period. It is uncertain what stadiums will apply for this license.

Illinois racetracks will be able to add slot machines and table games to their repertoire, in addition to sports betting.


Illinois Sports Betting Bill Details

Illinois sports wagering laws prohibit betting on games with Illinois schools involved, meaning you will not be able to bet on Illinois college teams like NorthWestern or the Ramblers.

Aside from betting prohibitions, Illinois also has a "penalty box" for FanDuel and DraftKings. DraftKings and FanDuel have offered Daily Fantasy Sports in Illinois despite a 2015 opinion by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan declaring them unconstitutional. Because of this, FanDuel and DraftKings will have to wait 18 months before being allowed to offer sports betting, unless they partner with a casino and use casino branding. While this penalty box is meant to help out Illinois casino operators, it ultimately deprives Illinois residents of two excellent sportsbooks. DraftKings and FanDuel both received 4.5 stars or higher in our 2019 reviews.

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins voiced his displeasure by Tweeting "While it is good to see sports betting bills passed, excluding DraftKings and FanDuel is like passing a ride-sharing bill that excludes Uber and Lyft."

There are three online-only licenses available in Illinois, priced at $20 million each. The Illinois Gaming Board will select the three sportsbooks. There is a $1 million renewal fee every four years to maintain the license. This $20 million charge is the largest of any state, surpassing Pennsylvania's $10 million fees. With expensive and limited options for online operators, Illinois is heavily favoriting its casinos and sports stadiums.

Another provision with Senate Bill 690 is that sports betting operators will be mandated to purchase official league data for all in-play wagers and wagers that aren't dependents on the final score of the event. As a consumer, this could limit betting options and make lines more expensive for you. On the other hand, league data could offer new types of bets based on next-gen stats. It will take time to realize whether or not this mandate benefits or harms consumers.

Illinois Online Gambling FAQ

With new gambling and sports betting expansion laws, it is important to understand where all forms of gambling stand in the Prairie State.

Here's what forms of gambling are legal in Tennessee:

  • Online Sports Betting - Legal (expected launch - 2019)
  • Online Horse Betting - Legal
  • Daily Fantasy Sports - Legal
  • iGaming (online slots) - Not Legal
  • Online Poker - Not Legal
  • Offshore Sportsbooks - Not Legal

Daily Fantasy Sports, such as FanDuel and DraftKings are legal in Illinois. Although FanDuel and DraftKings are unable to participate in Illinois sports betting for the first 18 months, residents can bet on Daily Fantasty Sports.

Daily Fantasy Sports, or DFS, is a cross between fantasy football and legalized gambling. On a broad level, DFS contests are a subsection of fantasy sports. Players compete against their friends, or more often strangers to build a team of professional athletes under a given salary cap, and try and to outscore their opponents. Daily fantasy sports differ from traditional fantasy sports by having contests that last for an evening or the weekend, as opposed to having the same team for months.

Contests Offered Lineup
Contests Offered Lineup

Are offshore sportsbooks legal in Illinois?

No, offshore sportsbooks such as Bovada are not legal in Illinois. Although offshore sportsbooks accept residents of Illinois as clients, they are illegal and can be unsafe.

Does Illinois have an online lottery?

Yes, the Illinois Lottery does offer online games. Games offered include jackpot games such as Mega Millions and daily games such as pick 3.

Illinois Lottery
Illinois Lottery

Where does the money go?

Illinois Lottery money goes to the following causes: 64% is paid to winners, 5.5% is paid to retailers as commissions, 25% is transferred to the Common School Fund, Capital Projects Fund, and Specialty Tickets, and 5.5% goes towards operating expenses.

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Joey Shadeck

About the author: Joey Shadeck is the lead writer for and content strategist for Michigan-based Reink Media Group. He has closely tracked sports betting in the United States for the last two years, compiling hundreds of data points across dozens of sportsbooks. He has 5 years of online betting experience with hundreds of bets placed during that time.

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