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Illinois Gaming Market

Sports Betting in Illinois: What You Need to Know

August 14, 2018

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, also known as PASPA or the Bradley Act, was a law that outlawed sports betting in the United States, with a few exceptions for certain states. In May 2018, the Supreme Court declared PASPA unconstitutional, and lifted the ban on sports betting. That action did not, however, specifically authorize it in all states. Each individual state now has the ability to decide for themselves whether to allow sports gambling within the state. A few states have already passed legislation allowing for sports betting, and many others are preparing to do so.

New call-to-actionWhat does this mean for the Illinois market? It’s important to note that while Illinois has not yet authorized sports betting, and therefore it is still illegal in this state, there have been a number of potential ideas floated in Springfield since the Supreme Court ruling. If you’re not familiar with sports betting, we’ve outlined how it works in general and some terms you need to know.

There are many different ways you can wager a bet at a sportsbook. A sportsbook is an establishment that takes wagers on various sporting events. There are many kinds of lines that can be used. For example – a moneyline, point spread, point total (over/under), proposition bet, and live bet (we’ll talk about this in further detail). Who creates these betting lines? Many sportsbooks have internal oddsmakers that create betting lines in the days leading up to the event or game. Most lines are made from computerized data and algorithms that are constantly being updated. Further, a minus (-) is the team that the oddsmaker considers the “favorite” of the game. A plus (+) is the team that the oddsmaker considers the “underdog” of the game.

Here are the most popular ways to wager a bet:
Point Spread

Team A is favored by -6.5 points versus Team B that are +6.5 point underdogs. Now, based on the point spread of 6.5 points, if you were to place a wager on Team A, they would need to win the game by 7 points or more for you to win the bet. On the reverse, if you were to place a wager on Team B, you would need them to lose by less than 6.5 points or win the game outright.


Moneylines are shown in units of $100. Team A is listed at -425 (favorite) and Team B is listed at +335 (underdog). You would have to bet $425 to win $100 if you wanted Team A to win. If you wanted Team B to win then you’d receive $335 for every $100 wagered. This bet is determined merely on the outcome of the game. It does not matter by how many points the team wins by, just if they win.

Point Total (Over/Under)

When some people can’t decide which team to bet on, they make a bet on the total combined points. Usually, you’ll see it written like this: “60.5 o -110” - this means if the total combined points scored from both teams are 61 or higher then that would be considered the “over” at -110 odds (risk $110 to win $100). “60.5 u +105” – this means if the total combined points scored from both teams are 60 or lower then that would be considered the “under” at +105 odds (risk $100 to win $105). Many point totals are often set with a .5 at the end, which makes a “push” impossible. A push could happen when an over/under (o/u) is set at 63 and one team scores 33 and the other scores 30. In this instance, you would receive your money back.

Proposition Bet

Also known as a prop bet. There are two different types of prop bets in a sporting event. There are game-prop bets and then player-prop bets. A few examples of a football game-prop bet are: “will there be overtime?”, “will there be a score in the first 7 minutes of the game?”, and “will Team A score three straight times?”. A few examples of a basketball player-prop bet include: “will this player get more than two blocks this game?”, “will this player score over 30 points this game?”, and "will this player have over 8 rebounds this game?”.

Live Bet

Also known as “in-play” betting because you are actively placing bets throughout the game based on single plays, momentum, and more. Many times, the favorite is losing early in the game, so the line decreases in favor of the underdog. This is when many bettors place a bet trying to hedge their previous bet. Live betting consists of all the previous methods discussed.

As discussed earlier, sports betting is not yet legal in Illinois, and it is currently unclear if, when or how the state legislature will authorize it. Legislators have decisions to make as to who will regulate the gambling, and what exactly they’ll allow (for example, perhaps only some of the types of wagers we discussed above will be permitted). An agreed-upon bill needs to be voted on and approved by the Governor before we would see it implemented in Illinois. This could take several months or even years. We will continue to keep you updated on the latest news on sports betting, along with other legalized forms of gambling in the State of Illinois.    

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