February 21, 2019 3 min read


Illinois Wants Its Own Land-Based and Mobile Sports Betting

Illinois’ new governor, J.B. Pritzker, has outlined plans for the state to bolster its finances during a budget address. According to Gov. Pritzker, sports betting is a way to patch up financial gaps and boost tax revenue.

Illinois’ New Gov. Wants Sports Betting Right Away

It’s been a very busy week for sports betting in the United States. A bill in West Virginia has advanced successfully and Iowa has seen a new proposal offering both land-based and online wagering put forth.

Now, the state of Illinois is seeking its place under the sun of the betting industry. Speaking on February 20, incoming state Gov. J.B. Pritzker outlined his plan for funding the state’s coffers, which included sports betting:

“The budget I present to you today is an honest proposal—the costs are not hidden, the revenues I propose are not out of reach, the hole we need to fill is not ignored.

Sports betting seems to hold a strong potential according to J.B. Pritzker. In his budget address he insists for the legalization of the industry.

Describing the expansion of gambling in Illinois as a “perennial mission,” that has mostly been met with unsuccess, the governor is convinced that change is on the cards. Neverhtless, Mr. Pritzker is cognizant of both the dangers of letting residents bet at offshore operators as well as the unrealized potential to claim solid tax windfall:

Sports betting is different – this is a new market created by a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. Every day we argue about “who’s in and who’s out” is money that goes to other states and to the black market.

Talking about hundreds of thousands of unrealized dollars for Illinois, Mr. Pritzker may as well have a case pushing his suggestion through. He didn’t miss an opportunity to sweeten the pill by offering some numbers too.

Looking in Illinois’ Sports Betting Plans

Mr. Pritzker backed his plans for a developed betting industry outlining its key points and metrics that would make it possible for the state to benefit and the businesses to grow. He outlined the following proposal:

  • A licensing fee worth $10 million, similar to what Pennsylvania is charging
  • An annual renewal fee of $5,000 for the interactive segment
  • Both in-person and mobile betting on the territory of Illinois or between Illinois and any other jurisdiction that agrees to partner with the state
  • Operators will pay 20% tax that would go to the State Gaming Fund

Gov. Pritzker expects the state to rake in as much as $200 million by 2020 from collecting licensing and renewal fees and tax. However, for any of this to work, Illinois will have to sort out its legal matters quick as well as bring operators on board.

There’s already a proposed legislation with SB 176 ready to be pushed through the respective legislative bodies.

It’s interesting to note that Illinois wants to expand into other markets and create a sort of “shared-liquidity”. However, how feasible is this now that the DOJ is planning to attack data-transfers and cross-border gambling?

Mr. Pritzker seems confident in his intentions.


Simon is a freelance writer who specializes in gambling news and has been an author in the poker/casino scene for 10+ years. He brings valuable knowledge to the team and a different perspective, especially as a casual casino player.

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