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Illinois Senate Passes Sports Betting Legislation - On to Governor

June 6, 2019

After months of hard work and a number of amendments, the Illinois Senate finally came to agreement with the House and passed SB 600 by a vote of 46-10. SB 600 legalizes sports gambling in the state of Illinois. It also provides provisions for mobile sports gambling, a signal that mobile online casino gambling might soon be on the table. After passage by both the House and Senate, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has expressed support for the legislation, which should result in him signing the bill into law later this month.

Illinois joins 11 other states that have moved forward to legalize sports gambling for its residents. All of this comes on the heels of the US Supreme Court lifting the nation’s ban on sports gambling in May of 2018. In the coming months, a large number of other states are slated to make similar overtures.

As for content of the bill, it authorizes the state's casinos, racetracks and sports venues such as Wrigley Field and Soldier Field to offer sports wagering. In the case of sports venues, licensing is available for all sports venues with a capacity of at least 17,000 people. If a venue qualifies, they are eligible to purchase a master sports wagering license, which will allow them to offer sports betting at betting kiosks located within a five-block radius of the actual sports venue. The fee for said licensing will be $10 million for 4-year license. To protect the integrity of amateur sports in the state, wagers will not be offered on events that involve Illinois colleges or high schools.

The announcement of the bill’s passage was made by state Rep. Mike Zalewski, who said in a statement to the press, "Today is the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work, determination and teamwork behind a vision for entertainment and economic opportunity in Illinois.”

While both the NBA and MLB requested a fee be paid to the leagues based on the amount of gambling revenues bet on those respective sports, such a provision was not included in the bill. What was included in the bill on behalf of the sports leagues was control over their own sports data to be used for in-game wagering options. 

Another interesting provision of the bill calls for fantasy sports giants like FanDuel and DraftKings to operate in partnership with the state’s existing casino brands. This limitation will stay in effect for 18 months, at which time such companies will be permitted to apply for its own licenses. 

This decision did not sit well with DraftKings CEO Jason Robins, who wrote on Twitter: "While it is good to see sports betting bills passed, excluding DraftKings and FanDuel is like passing a ride sharing bill that excludes Uber and Lyft. Very disappointing that Illinois customers will not have the best options available to them for 18 months."

Included in the sports gambling bill was authorization of additional land-based casinos in and around the Chicago area. No date has yet been set as to when residents can begin betting on sports.


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