Last Friday, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill that effectively made the state the fifth one to officially legalize sports betting in the country following the May 2018 Supreme Court ruling that abolished PASPA and legalized sports betting. The bill that was signed into law included a wide-ranging $45 billion capital funding package. Work on the bill began in February when the governor tasked the state’s legislature with drafting a sports betting law that would bring in $200 million to state coffers – the lawmakers did just that even though the bill arrived rather late as part of a $12 billion capital bill.
The process was also pretty straightforward, to say the least. For instance, on the second day of the extended regular session which was at the beginning of June, the state’s Senate passed the $12 billion capital bill that was several years in the making. They then tactfully tacked a sports betting provision or clause into the capital bill after it was determined that the best chance of passage of the betting bill was if it was part of an amendment to a bigger bill instead of a standalone piece of legislation.
This new sports law is now going to allow for state-wide online and mobile sports betting as well as retail sportsbooks, all which will be launched either in late 2019 or early 2020. Sports betting operators in the state will be able to apply for licenses and these will be awarded on condition that they have a seating capacity of greater than 17,000 inside or within a five-block radius of the gambling venues. A 15 percent tax rate will be imposed on sports betting activities.
Also, the sports betting services will be offered on a wide range of sporting activities including MLB, NFL, NBA, MLS, and even Nascar events. The law, however, prohibits wagering on the state’s university and collegiate sporting events.
The State of Sports Betting in the United States
As it stands, a total of 15 states including Nevada and the District of Columbia have legalized sports betting. However, only a handful of states (Nevada, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Delaware, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania) have active sports betting industries. Most of the other jurisdictions are reportedly planning to officially their sports betting industries in the coming fall. Fortunately, there is not much in the way of the industry and it will likely take off very smoothly with even more states set to join the bandwagon in the near future.
Sports betting has proven to be a very lucrative business in the United States and even international gaming operators have taken note of this fact. A number of them have even gone ahead to partner with local gambling companies in a bid to get a piece of the market.