Illinois Approves the Necessary Legislation, Making Sports Betting Legal
The Illinois Senate greenlighted the new piece of legislation – called SB690 – on Sunday, by a 46-10 vote. This vote came only one day after the House said yes to the capital funding bill by a vote of 87-27.
More Money for the State
The initial deadline was set last Friday, but both chambers extended their respective legislative session, as they couldn’t reach an agreement by that date. The bill will need to be signed by Governor J. B. Pritzker, and getting his John Hancock should pose no problem.
The Prairie State needs more money for the state coffers as soon as possible, and legalizing sports betting could bring up to $200 million. The new bill would not only make land-based and online betting legal, but would also include slot machine operations at racetracks, and the construction of six new facilities, including the first-ever casino built in downtown Chicago.
Illinois will issue wagering licenses to all casinos and track operators doing business in the state, as well as large sports venues. It should be pointed out that the bill favoured land-based operators, as they would be able to launch online betting along with their existing operations. The bettors will, however, need to register in-person in a brick and mortar facility during the first year and a half following the official launch of sports betting.
Under the provisions of the new bill, only three online-only licensees, although they won’t be able to launch their business for 18 months after the start of retail wagering. Until that happens, online-only operators will be able to offer their products through a partnership with a land-based operator, although the product in question will not be allowed to bear the company’s branding.
Licensee Fees Varying
The bill’s antagonism towards online-only can be seen in the size of license fees. Online-only operators, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, will be required to pay a fee of $20 million in advance, along with renewal fees of $1 million, paid on a yearly basis. License fees from land-based operators are set at 5% of their revenue from the previous year, up to $10 million per year, with renewal fees of $1 million.
Technology suppliers will pay a $150,000 application fee, valid for 4 years, with renewal fees set at $150,000 per year. Both land-based and online operators will pay a tax of 15% on their revenue, with the state collecting additional 2% which will be distributed among counties with populations of 3 million and more, in order to strengthen their justice systems.
The bill requires that all licensees use official league data for their in-play bets, marking another win for the professional leagues, following the approval of sports betting legislation in Tennessee.
Illinois is the latest state to make sports betting legal in 2019, after Tennessee, Indiana, Iowa and Montana. All of these bills were signed by the state’s governors, apart from the one in Tennessee, which became law without being inked. More and more states are considering such a move, following the last year’s decision of the US Supreme Court to end the federal ban on sports betting.