Illinois Takes Big Step Towards Launch
The Illinois Gaming Board has a board meeting scheduled for December 19th and according to administrator Marcus Fruchter, license applications for potential sports betting operators will be available on or before that date. This is a major step towards the official launch of legalized sports betting in the state of Illinois.
A launch date has not been confirmed as the Gaming Board is still dealing with casino applications before they can even begin the process with sportsbooks. That being said, this is reason for sports gamblers in Illinois to be very optimistic.
Gaming Board Would Not Confirm a Launch Date
Now that a date has been given as to when the sportsbook applications will be available, the next question is how long is it going to take to process them? The Illinois Gaming Board was not clear as to how long the process would take, saying it depends on a few factors. The most important of which is how many entities applied and did they follow the proper application procedures.
The initial hope when the sports betting law was signed back in the summer was that the launch could be ready in time for the start of the NFL season which is around the same time three of the four major sports leagues in the country get started.
There's also the matter of casino licenses that the agency is still sorting through. Casino applications were made available last month and the Gaming Board received applications from 10 potential operators vying for the 5 newly authorized casino licenses under the gaming expansion. Most of the entities that submitted casino applications have also said they'll apply for sports betting licenses however they will have to wait until they have been granted a casino license first.
This is all Part of Governor Pritzker's Plan
Governor J.B Pritzker's "Rebuild Illinois" capital plan included a massive gambling expansion. As part of that plan, a casino in the heart of Chicago is expected which is something that previous lawmakers were never able to make a reality. There will also be five additional casinos in Rockford, Waukegan, Downstate Williamson County, and Danville while the fifth site is slated to open in south suburban Cook County municipality that has not yet been named.
"Rebuild Illinois" is not just about sportsbooks but the money from gambling is expected to generate huge revenue towards funding the capital plan. Pritzker estimates his capital plan will receive $10 million from sports betting revenue and $500 million from upfront license fees from casino and sports wagering.
Sports Betting Licenses in Illinois Will Not Come Cheap
A sports betting license application will cost $10 million in the state of Illinois. As for online sports betting, casinos will get a head start due to a regulation that calls for an 18-month wait for online-only companies. After the 18-month period is up, those companies can apply for a license that will cost them a whopping $20 million.
In the meantime, sites like FanDuel and DraftKings can partner with a casino, a race track or even a sports venue that runs their own retail sportsbooks. Most Illinois sportsbooks will also be taxed at 15% which is much higher than their Midwestern neighbors Indiana and Iowa who launched their legal sports betting markets recently. Taxes in Cook County (where Chicago is located) which is less than an hour from the Indiana border will bet even higher at 17%. Legal sports betting is close to launching in Illinois, one of the wealthiest states in the country.