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Illinois Sports Betting 2020

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Legal since: 06-28-2019
Legal since June 2019
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  • Legal since Senate Bill 690 passed
  • No licensed online operator yet
  • Many operators looking forward to enter the market
  • Authority: Illinois Gaming Board (IGB)
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Illinois Silhouette
Legal since: 06-28-2019

Illinois Online Sports Betting: Quick Overview 2020

At the moment of writing this article, Illinois sports betting is still not fully regulated and there are no live betting operators. However, the state has passed the bill regulating sports betting in Illinois, so it is just a matter of time before the legal situation changes and first sportsbooks see the light of day in the state. So, Illinois is just moments away from having fully licensed and regulated sports betting market and, if there are no unexpected developments, this will happen in a very near future.

Introduction to Illinois Sports Betting & Gambling Industry

The discussion about legal sports betting in Illionis started back in 2018. This is when the first sports betting bill was introduced for the consideration. This first bill was very short and it only served to pave the way for what happened later. Today, Illinois is finally ready to go fully legal and it is on the cusp of having regulated live and online sports betting.

Landbased Sports Betting Legal Situation

According to the current Illionis sports betting bill that is awaiting its final confirmation, landbased venues such as casinos and racetracks will get the first crack at setting up sports betting operations pending the licensing procedure. The state is also planning for the launch of 2,500 kiosks where bettors will be able to legally place their sports bets. This will be followed by establishing sportsbooks across seven sporting venues in the state during the second year of sports betting Illinois.

However, the state will only allow betting on professional sports. Collegiate sports will be exempt from betting and it won’t be possible to place any wagers on these leagues and events. This stipulation was included in the bill based on the suggestions from interested parties who voiced their concerns that including college sports could lead to all sorts of problems.

They explained that it would create a situation where young athletes would come under all sorts of pressure to share the inside information or influence outcomes of the games. Lawmakers saw these as legitimate and reasonable concerns so they decided to exclude all collegiate sports from the sports betting bill.

Online Sports Betting Legal Situation

The online betting Illinois is scheduled to be introduced after the initial launch in landbased venues. The state will follow on the examples of other states that have already regulated this area, meaning that online betting operators will have to be connected to a landbased venue such as a casino. In the first eighteen months, these will be the only online betting operators allowed to offer their services in the state.

So, while the sportsbook betting in Illinois could be coming around soon, those wanting to bet online might still have to wait a little while. The state is clearly in no rush to regulate this particular aspect of the betting industry and they want to see how things will pan out in the live environment first. That said, if everything goes as planned and the laws turn up efficient in all important areas, there is no reason to think that online sports betting won’t be added to the mix.

Mobile Sports Betting Gambling Situation

Like the online segment, mobile betting will be introduced later down the line. Major sportsbook operators will be allowed to offer their services via mobile apps, provided they have the required licenses to run a betting operation. This will likely increase the number of bettors and should significantly facilitate the process of placing sports bets.

It is worth mentioning that the Wire Act could potentially spoil some of the plans with regards to betting via mobile apps. There are currently discussions going on about whether the Wire Act should apply to these types of betting. If the proponents of this stance get it their way, it could create serious problems for all states looking to regulate sports betting as this is a federal act, so states can’t override it.

However, as we’ll discuss in a moment, Illinois doesn’t seem too keen on creating an environment where mobile or online operators could thrive. With high proposed licensing fees, combined with high taxation rates, it would be very hard for a sportsbook to set up an online shop and actually make profit from it.

Online Sports Betting Licensing Process

When it comes licensing, the Illinois sports betting law in its current form has planned for some pretty hefty fees for the operators wanting to get in the game. For landbased venues, the proposed licensing fee is USD 10 million, with a renewal fee of USD 1,000,000 every five years. This is much higher than most other states that have regulated sports betting.

For online operators, things are looking even worse. Namely, the law proposes the licensing fee of USD 20 million and they are planning to only allow three online betting operators in the entire state. On top of this, all sportsbooks will be taxed at the rate of 25 percent of their gross profit, making the entire thing very expensive.

It is quite clear that the state isn’t really looking to support online / mobile betting as they have set a really high barrier for entry. As it stands now, it would be very hard for any operator to justify such an expense. Of course, it is still possible the bill will change in some of its points before it is finally passed into a law.

Illinois Online Sportsbook List

No legal operator yet

Gambling & Sports Betting in Illinois: History

Illinois has a long history of gambling, regulated and unregulated alike. Players could find some gambling fun on unlicensed river boat casinos as early as the 1820s. In the early 1900s, betting on horses was legal in the state, although other forms of gambling were still banned and happened mostly in illegal, unlicensed venues.

The state lottery was first legalized in Illinois in 1979. The state decided to make this move as they believed they could profit from additional money pouring into the education sector from this source. From then on, players from Illinois could participate in lottery draws. A few years later, the state also gave green light for licensed charity gambling.

When it comes to lottery, Illinois was actually the first state to start selling lottery tickets online. The Video Gaming Act allowing this was passed in 2009, although it took a couple of years before it would actually come into play.

When it comes to casino gambling, river boat casinos were allowed but they could only offer their services while actually cruising rivers. This changed in 1999, when the state allowed for the boats to actually dock and continue operating, also allowing for fixed gambling complexes to be built around them.

Finally, in 2011, the state passed the Casinos Act, which allowed for casino games to be offered away from the rivers, giving racetracks a green light to also start offering slot machines. As for the sports betting, the new bill should be passed into law in the next few months, finally allowing sports betting in the state as well.

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Sports Betting Illinois: Frequently Asked Questions

At the moment, online gambling isn’t regulated in Illinois. However, the state has passed the bill regulating sports betting and this bill should come into force in the next few months, which will allow for legalized online betting in Illinois.  The bill should be signed into the law in 2019 or early in 2020.

At the moment, there are still no legal Illinois sports betting online sites. This should change once the governor signs the sports betting bill into the law as there are already numerous venues interested in setting up betting shops. However, the current law only allows for three online betting operators in the state.

There are still no licensed sports betting sites in the state. Once they go live, it will likely be one of the well-established racetracks as they already know how things are done. Of course, this will also depend on who is willing to put in the money required to set things up the right way.

If you’re wondering when does Illinois sports betting start, the first betting operators should  go live at some point in 2020. The state needs to first pass the bill into the law, following by the licensing process to determine what casinos and racetracks will get to operate the first legal sportsbooks.

When it comes to sports betting specifically, it should become legal any day now. The bill is ready to be signed by the governor so it should happen in the last couple of months of 2019 or early in 2020. There is still some ironing required on the bill but it should go live soon.

It still remains to be seen what betting operators in Illinois will provide players with mobile betting opportunities. The state has imposed some pretty hefty licensing fees on the mobile and online segment of the sports betting market, so bettors might not get as many options as they would ideally like.

The body in charge of regulating all gambling and betting activities in the state is Illinois Gaming Board. This is the only organization in the state that has the power to oversee the gambling facilities, enact penalties, and make sure everyone is doing things by the book.

Gambling & Online Betting Illinois: Play Responsibly

Gambling in general, be it online or live, is meant to be a fun and entertaining activity and not a way to make money. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance for the players to understand this and always play within their means and only with the funds they can afford to lose. Going over your budgets and out of the scope of your means can be very dangerous.

We advocate responsible gambling and should you feel things are getting out of control, you shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for help from organizations such as Gamblers Anonymous. Gambling can become an addiction and if you or someone you know starts displaying signs of the addiction, you should seek help as soon as possible. There is only one way to gamble online and that’s to do it responsibly and within your preset limits. Everything else can lead to serious problems that you need to tackle immediately.

Daily Fantasy Sports: Win with Expertise

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) are a special division of sports betting that actually involves a lot of skill. Players who understand the sports and leagues they’re competing in will usually fare much better than those who are just trying their luck. So, DFS are, in many of their aspects, a game of skill, although not many states recognize them as such just yet.

When it comes to Illinois, things are quite interesting in terms of Daily Fantasy Sports. As of right now, players can enjoy DFS at many operators, including the leaders such as Draft Kings and FanDuel. While the current law doesn’t address the issue, there is also nothing in it that would make it illegal for the players. Or, at the very least, the state hasn’t been doing anything to prevent it.

However, once the new law is in place, current DFS operators will be cut off from the Illinois market for the period of eighteen months. This is definitely not good news for these operators as they already have a very strong presence in the state. With the new law, they will have to leave and make room for newly licensed operators in Illinois. These operators will then have plenty of time to round up the market and attract players while operators from other states will only be able to sit on the fences and wait it out.

Social Casino: Have Fun Playing with No Risk

Online gambling can be a lot of fun even when there is no money on the line. The thrill of scoring a jackpot on slots or catching a hot series on roulette or blackjack can be very real even if you’re only risking play chips. Often, it is about the journey and not the goal, and the journey can be a lot of fun even if you’re not putting your hard earned cash on the line.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, you should check out social casinos such as Slotomania, House of Fun, or Caesar’s Social Casino. These sites will give you a chance to try your luck with dozens of slots and popular table games for free. Simply sign up and start playing without risking a single cent.

Of course, you can’t win any real money playing on these social sites but if you’re just looking for some fun, you’ll find plenty here. Many of these casinos offer really impressive libraries of slots and you’ll even find some games that aren’t available for real money play anywhere. So, even if you play for real, checking out these sites and playing on them from time to time can be a lot of fun.

Quick Illinois Gambling Guide

Permitted / Offered? Notes & Restrictions
Land-Based Casinos Yes Allowed at river boats and venues such as racetracks
Online Gambling No Currently not allowed as there is no law addressing regulating online gambling
Sports Betting No The new sports betting law should be signed in the next few months, allowing legal sports betting in Illinois
Lottery Yes Lottery has been allowed in Illinois since 1986 and players can buy tickets for the draws online as well
Daily Fantasy Sports Yes Currently players can participate in DFS provided by the likes of FanDuel and Draft Kings but once the new bill is passed this will change
House Gambling Yes Only allows charitable games of skills
Minimum Gambling Age 18 18 for the lottery, 21 for casino games and sports betting