Illinois Gambling Regulators Give Away New Sports Betting Licenses

Illinois Gambling Regulators Give Away New Sports Betting Licenses

On Thursday, the Illinois Gaming Board granted master sports betting licenses to gaming properties in the state. However, the bettors still have nowhere to bet as regulatory hurdles stop them from betting.

Where do gamblers go?

Even though the Gaming Board granted licenses, its rules mandate casinos to request approvals to start taking bets separately. This is leaving the bettors at a disadvantage. According to state rules, license holders can now offer sports betting to users at retail locations i.e. casinos which are shut down indefinitely because of the pandemic. If they intend to start offering online or mobile betting, they have to place a request with the regulator. It has left gamblers with no options even with a regulated gaming market and license holders.

The licenses will bring a jackpot for the state which is getting strapped for cash amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The state has earned about $40 million via one-time license fee payments from the operators. The fee varies from casino-to-casino and is capped at $10 million. This, however, will not be enough for the state which is reeling under the pressure of the coronavirus pandemic.

Big losses for Illinois

Between March and June 2019, the state’s casinos received more than $114 million while video gambling terminals earned $147 million. This year, they have lost this revenue completely as all physical gaming properties remain shut down. The state has a $2.7 billion shortfall which will primarily be covered by borrowing, according to a revised operating budget signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday.

Two licensed casinos in the state- the Argosy Casino Alton and Rivers in Des Plaines could only accept bets briefly before the governor ordered a shutdown of gaming properties in March. The other five casinos that were granted a license in the Thursday meeting are- Casino Queen, Par-A-Dice, Hollywood Casinos in Aurora and Joliet, and Grand Victoria. Sports betting licenses are valid for four years and will be renewed at $1 million.

With this license award, the state has also ticked off the 18-month period during which online-only sports betting giants will not be allowed to enter the markets. In its gambling expansion law signed last year, the state decided to give its land-based casinos advantage over their online-only counterparts with an 18-month penalty box period. After the period ends, the online-only firms will have to pay a massive $20 million fee to enter the market.

About sherlock

Sherlock Gomes loves to write and express his views on anything related to Gaming, Gambling, & Casino. He has been covering Gaming for more than two years now.