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Illinois Gaming Market

What's the Deal with Illinois Sports Betting?

August 22, 2019

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker legalized sports betting in Illinois when he signed a $45 billion capital plan at the end of June. But that doesn’t mean you can make a bet today for the Bears to win the Super Bowl. There is much work to be done before people can begin betting on sports in Illinois.

Here is all you need to know about the new Sports Wagering Act:

Regulations are Not Ready

While the new law broadly outlined how sports betting will operate, it doesn’t get into all the specifics. That will be the job of the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) and the Illinois Lottery. The IGB will need to write rules to implement the majority of sports betting in the State (with one exception noted below, which is housed within the Illinois Lottery). This may take a while, as the IGB has also been tasked with a variety of other gaming-related legislative changes, including adding six new casinos and an expansion to video gaming.

Once the rules are finalized, sports betting can start to be rolled out.

Where You Can Bet

The law only allows certain types of entities to accept sports wagers. Individuals physically located in the State of Illinois will be able to place sports wagers (both in person and online) at Illinois casinos, racetracks (and their associated OTBs) and up to 7 sports facilities (meaning a facility that hosts sports events with a seating capacity greater than 17,000 people). In addition, the Illinois Lottery will license and regulate a pilot program of sports lottery terminals located at a limited number of Illinois Lottery retailers. These terminals will only accept parlay wagers and fixed odds parlay wagers.      

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Online Betting

After 18 months of permitting online wagers only through the above-described entities, the IGB will also license three online operators to accept online wagers. This second wave of online sports wagering operators may include companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel.

What You Can Bet On

While sports betting may be legal, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to bet on anything you can imagine. The law prohibits wagers on minor league sporting events, sports events involving any Illinois collegiate team and (unsurprisingly) on kindergarten through 12th grade sporting events. In addition, interested parties including sports wagering licensees, professional sports teams, leagues or associations, sports governing bodies or institutions of higher education can submit requests to the IGB to prohibit a type or form of wagering if they feel it is contrary to public policy, unfair to consumers or affects the integrity of the sport.     

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