Illinois Sports Betting: Sportsbook Locations & Mobile Betting Apps Timeline
Representative Mike Zalewski has been in the driver’s seat for nearly three years for legal sports betting (and online gaming) in the Prairie State, and as of June 2, 2019, sports betting is legal and authorized in Illinois.
There will be questions, let’s dive into everything you need to know about sports betting in Illinois.
When Can I Bet?
As of December, 2019 there are no live sportsbooks. With that being said, the state has fully legalized and regulated the industry, so the ball is in the sportsbook’s court.
Expect there to be live online and in-person betting in Illinois early in 2020. It was expected to launch by football season, but that has not come to fruition.
Bettors will need to be 21 years of age or older, and located within state lines.
Where Can I Bet?
Once licenses are approved, you will be able to bet in a variety of places. Illinois has a unique infrastructure that allows betting at many places, in-person and of course via mobile devices.
In addition to sportsbooks at land-based casinos, and mobile betting eventually, there will be other options.
Expect the following casinos and racetracks to offer sports betting:
- Hawthorne Race Course (via PointsBet Illinois)
- Casino Queen
- Grand Victoria
- Harrah’s (potential online app for Caesar’s)
- Hollywood Casino
- Rivers Casino Des Plaines (BetRivers Illinois)
- DraftKings and FanDuel Sportsbook (depending on 18-month rule, details below)
Betting Kiosks via the Illinois Lottery
In the first year of sports betting in Illinois, there are 2,500 expected betting kiosks to be available in different casinos, racetracks, and other sports venues via the Illinois Lottery.
In year two, there will be 2,500 more kiosks added.
The downside of the kiosks is that they will not offer full sports betting, as it will be limited to parlays. Illinois law also permits sports venues to open up sportsbooks as well, which can offer full access sports betting.
These venues include:
- Wrigley Field
- Guaranteed Rate Field
- Soldier Field
- United Center
- SeatGeek Stadium
- Chicagoland Speedway
- World Wide Technology Raceway
Remember, the following casinos and racetracks are expected to offer sports betting:
- Hawthorne Race Course (via PointsBet.com)
- Casino Queen
- Grand Victoria
- Hollywood Casino
- Rivers Casino Des Plaines
- DraftKings and FanDuel Sportsbook
Mobile Betting in Illinois
It will take some time before mobile betting is active in the Land of Lincoln, but once live there are some provisions that need to be conveyed. Keep in mind, these are only in effect for the first 18 months after sports betting.
Bettors will need to register in-person with a licensed sportsbook before betting online. This will not last forever, but at first it will be essential.
You will need to visit the closest casino or racetrack to verify your identity and such.
The second clause is very interesting:
Individual online-casino operators will only be able to enter the market in the first 18 months if they partner with a casino in Illinois. If they choose not to, they will need to wait 18 months.
If the operator chooses to enter within 18 months, it is required to operate under the brand name of the casino.
This means FanDuel, DraftKings, and some others have a difficult decision to make. Do they wait 18 months for their own brand? Time will tell.
This will be essential for competitors to get a leg up, as 18 months is a long time to acquire as many customers as they can, before the larger media companies enter the state.
Can I Bet on College Sports?
In Illinois, you cannot bet on in-state collegiate athletics. This means that bettors can wager on any professional league, but college teams in the state are off limits. This was enacted due to athletic directors of several D1 schools expressing the desire to have in-state collegiate athletics exempt from sports betting, to avoid any inside information or attempts to influence a game in any way.
No betting on Northwestern football or basketball! One must remember that Northwestern football was involved in a game-fixing scandal back in 1998.
Minor league events and amateur sports for grades K-12 are not permitted to bet wagered.
Illinois Sports Betting Taxes
The state of Illinois will gain a large amount of tax revenue from sports betting.
The bill calls for:
- 15% tax rate on gross sports wagering
- 2% additional tax rate from operators located in counties with a large population (3M or higher)
In addition, licensing fees of $3M to $20M will bring in revenue for the state as well as part of this process. There were some fears of a Pennsylvania sports betting tax regulation which calls for 34% tax on revenue. Thankfully that did not happen.
Illinois Requires Official League Data
Illinois joins Tennessee and Michigan in requiring “official” data from the professional sports leagues in order to offer in-game betting or prop betting. Licensed operators must purchase official data from the leagues to offer these types of betting.