Illinois Punters May Be Able to Bet During March Madness

Illinois Punters May Be Able to Bet During March Madness

Speaking during his budget address, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said that the state’s betting infrastructure could be up and running for March Madness.

Illinois ready to take the Big Dance head on

Gov. Pritzker said that the sports betting sector “appears to be on track and will be up and running in time for March Madness.” During the annual budget address on Wednesday, he gave a concrete deadline for the state’s sports betting industry, which has been waiting since last summer to go live. The sector also missed the Super Bowl this year but if the Governor’s words ring true, then punters won’t miss out on the second biggest sporting event of the year.

Illinois Punters May Be Able to Bet During March Madness

Earlier this month, the Argosy Casino Alton near St. Louis started advertising that its sportsbook will be ready for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in mid-March. The casino was one amongst the three venues offered a temporary sports betting license last month by the Illinois Gaming Board. Rivers Casino executives also believe that they will be able to take bets during March Madness but haven’t decided on a formal launch date yet. Grand Victoria Casino is also not giving a launch date.

The caveats of Illinois sports betting

Pritzker is confident that the tax revenue generated from sports betting operations will help fund construction and maintenance work at the state’s community colleges and universities. The state of Indiana has shown some positive signs in this regard. Sports betting in the state started in September last year, of which it collected $5 million in taxes. Interestingly, a big chunk of its handle came via casinos located in the Chicago area. This opens up a world of possibility for Illinois, which already has a strong gambling culture and where people are waiting for sports betting operations to go live.

The biggest question for the state is- when?

Even if all the three casinos open their sportsbooks by March 17, punters will not be allowed on bet on local teams that qualify for the tournament. Moreover, regulators have to approve the companies supplying technology platforms for sports betting. There is also a big issue related to official league data providers. As of Wednesday afternoon, a handful of companies applied for licenses to supply and manage technology for sports betting. However, no firm has submitted an application for providing official league data.

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