The Illinois Gaming Board announced recently that it would start accepting licensing applications from sports betting operators in December. The board decided it after a meeting on Thursday.
A good step towards legalization
Opening licensing applications in the state is the first big step towards sports betting legalization in Illinois. To date, 19 US states have legalized sports gambling and opened their markets for gambling operators. New Jersey, which fought PASPA in the US Supreme Court is one of the biggest beneficiaries of this trend, gaining millions in state revenue.
According to Gaming Board administrator Marcus Fruchter, the regulator is busy prepping for the licensing process. Applications will be available at the next board meeting on December 19 or before. The past summer was interesting and exciting for the Illinois gambling industry as the state introduced new gambling reforms. It opened the path for 10 existing riverboat casinos to dry land and agreed to the development of six new casinos. It also agreed to bring more video gaming terminals to the state.
Governor J.B. Pritzker has been pushing the sports betting agenda since he took office. He hopes that increased gambling revenue could fuel his Rebuild Illinois plan. Given the staggering revenue figures of New Jersey, this plan looks viable.
What to expect from the state?
According to Fruchter, the board is looking at different aspects of the business and wants to ensure that it investigates it thoroughly with the resources it has. Looking at the new gambling law, we can predict that the state’s riverboat casinos will be able to apply for a sports betting license. It may also allow race tracks to apply for a license. The state has seven large sporting venues with a seating capacity of over 17,000 which could also become the new hubs for sports betting. The law states that a stadium can legally operate a sportsbook within its premises or within five blocks.
Brick and mortar facilities can offer digital sports betting to their patrons. However, laws suggest that all players must be registered at the retail sportsbooks before they are allowed to place bets online. The state wants a $10 million licensing fee from the operators alongside a 15% tax on annual revenue. Some consider the licensing fee very high, but given the broad scope of the market, operators may be interested in getting this amount locked in.
The state has also planned to offer three online-only sports betting licenses for $20 million each.