Illinois Governor Signs Sports Betting Bill into Law

Governor J.B. Pritzker has finally inked the new sports betting bill, making Illinois the fifth state to legalize wagering on sports since the beginning of this year.

Illinois is also the biggest state by population to have done so in 2019.

Illinois Governor Signs Sports Betting Bill into Law

More Money for the State

Allowing sports betting should generate an additional 200 million to state coffers, which was Pritzker’s initial plan. However, the state’s lawmakers took almost four months to comply.

Governor signed the bill into law at an event in the state capital of Springfield, as a part of a “Bill Signing Tour which continues on Monday and Tuesday when Pritzker is scheduled to visit “gaming events” in Rockford, Chicago and Waukegan.

The state Senate approved a capital bill earlier this month, during the second day of the extended regular session. The bill was years in the making, while sports betting was added much later, as an amendment, since lawmakers believed it wouldn’t stand the chance as a separate piece of legislation.

Under the provisions of the new bill, Illinois’ residents will be able to bet on sports via mobile or in land-based sportsbooks located at professional stadiums across the state, while sports betting would be launched around New Year’s.

Montana, Iowa, Indiana and Tennessee have already legalized sports betting, Pennsylvania has already launched its first mobile apps, while legal sports betting in New York will be limited to four casinos.

Illinois needed to act quickly as some of its neighbours (Montana, Iowa, Indiana) have already made wagering on sports legal, although the Prairie will probably launch sports betting before Iowa and Indiana do so.

Illinois will likely launch sports betting in early 2020, in time for Super Bowl LIV, which will take place on February 2 in Miami.

Bill Miller, president and Chief Executive Officer of the American Gaming Association, pointed out it was critical that Illinois sports teams and other newcomers to the gaming business followed the lead of the state’s licensed gaming operators in advancing responsible gaming practices that ensured protections for consumers, bets and game integrity,

Sports Betting Elsewhere

Tennessee’s sports betting bill has become law without the signature of Governor Bill Lee, with the Volunteer State becoming the first one to only make mobile/online betting legal.

Lawmakers in Maine have recently approved a new sports betting bill, which is now awaiting the signature of Governor Janet Mills.

At the same time, Colorado passed – and the governor signed – a proposal that will let voters decide whether to make wagering on sports legal.

Sports betting is now legal in 15 states, including Nevada, and the District of Columbia, although it’s only active in Delaware, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia, as many of the states are waiting to launch sports betting this fall.

The situation on New Mexico in interesting, as the state hasn’t technically legalized wagering on sports, but it’s available at a number of tribal casinos. Oregon plans to launch sports betting by the time the new football season starts in September.