The State of Illinois is close to catching up to Indiana and Iowa and launch its own sports wagering industry after the state’s Gaming Board approved Phase II of the process.
Illinois’ Gaming Board Moves to Phase II of Sports Wagering Plans
Illinois is closing in on legalizing its sports betting industry with the state Gaming Board (IGB) publishing the second phase of the legalization process that would allow licensed operators to accept bets on sports contests.
With Indiana and Iowa already running their operations at full bore, Illinois is inclined to catch up and avoid letting revenue slip away from it. On Thursday, January 23, the IGB published a number of guidelines to help businesses looking forward the full-scale launch of the industry have a better idea of what was to follow.
Specifically, the regulator has deemed it appropriate to prohibit betting on any minor league teams as well as school and college contests, to name any games involving an Illinois educational institution.
Regulators equally warned individuals against placing bets on behalf of self-excluded gamblers. The move comes half a year after Governor J.B. Pritzker approved, together with the General Assembly, a pivotal piece of legislation enabling the expansion of casino and racino gaming as well as the introduction of sports wagering.
Commenting on the progress, IGB Administrator Marcus Fruchter had this to say in an official statement:
We look forward to working with our industry partners to ensure that sports wagering in Illinois operates with high integrity in a manner that is compliant, accountable, profitable, and Fun.
The Scope of Phase II
Phase II of the regulatory process will focus on establishing financial record requirements, launching the industry as well as the types of wagers and events allows. The measures are quite broad as it is, focusing on multiple important aspects of setting up regulated gambling, including self-exclusion programs and the basic framework that would enable sports wagering in the first place.
First off, all parties interested in applying will have to apply for a temporary license. Upon review, the IGBN will determine whether an applicant has passed successful. Following that, businesses would be allowed to apply for a full license.
As per Public Act 31-101, sports betting contests are now legal, although the framework is still in the works. A total of six Illinois casino licenses are up for grabs along with four horseracing tracks. Presently, the IGBN is fully responsible for establishing a regulatory framework as well collecting any revenue released of sports wagering.
Illinois has some 12 million people, giving the state a fair sports betting base. However, residents will be missing out on the Super Bowl that is taking place on February 3. Next on the calendar is “March Madness,” but once again, sports fans from the Land of Lincoln may have to travel across the state’s border or even turn to unregulated sportsbooks to be able to bet on their favorite teams.
Yet, not all is lost. Illinois may yet become the second-largest sports betting market in the US, and ahead of many other states showing a lot of potential, including the still unregulated California and Texas, and even Nevada.