The Illinois sports gambling market is one of the most highly anticipated entries into the legalized gambling sector in the US. Earlier this year, the state passed a gaming expansion legislation and legalized betting. As soon as the markets go live, the state could have one of the biggest gambling hubs in the US.
Why is Illinois so important?
The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) wants to start accepting applications from professional sporting arenas, horse racetracks, and casinos. All these entities can apply for a sports betting license, but the board isn’t giving a definitive timeline as to when the first wagers will be accepted. We expect sports betting operations to start functioning sometime next year.
The state is already strapped for cash because of which the board may want to Fastrack the application process and bring some valuable revenue their way. According to numerous studies, Illinois has the potential to become of the largest gambling markets in the US.
The credit will go to Chicago, which has a longstanding sports tradition. FDJ Gaming Solutions, a French research firm, said that the city has awesome teams working in all major league that could rev up the appetite for sports betting.
Global Market Advisors suggest that the state could witness an annual handle between $2.8 billion and $5.2 billion by 2023. If it actually manages to get past the $5 billion marks, it would be second only to Nevada- the home of Sin City Las Vegas.
What could be hurdles in its way?
Chicago is expected to be the hub of gambling in the state. However, the cost of setting up an integrated resort in the region could be very high. It is important to note that sports betting is a low margin business. The operators will have to pay a $10 million licensing fee. This means that the overall cost of setting operations in the state could be unusually high.
However, the board is allowing 18 months of protection from mobile and online operators. They will get time to bring more visitors to these land-based venues before competitors like FanDuel and DraftKings take precedence. Interestingly, online operations have to pay a $20 million licensing fee to the board.
NHL Blackhawks, NBA Bulls, NFL Bears and MLB’s White Sox and Chicago Cubs are all in touch with the state lawmakers to discuss sports betting. The teams have taken an issue with the high licensing fee.