Illinois Kicks Off Legalized Sports Betting

After Rivers Casino Des Plaines opened their sportsbook for action on Monday the 9th of March 2020, Illinois officially became the latest state with legal sports betting in operation.

Sports betting was legalized in the state after an expanded gambling bill was approved last summer. This meant that casinos and racetracks in the state were able to start applying for sports betting licenses.

The coronavirus pandemic caused the cancellation of many sporting events during the week of this launch and most leagues have temporarily suspended their seasons. This probably did not provide Rivers with a dream start for their sports betting operation, but it is a situation that will pass fairly quickly. The long-term potential in the state is massive, and bookmakers have a lot of positives to look forward to in Illinois.

In this article, we’ll cover what this news means for eager sports bettors in the state.

How can you place sports bets in Illinois?

Currently, Rivers is the only casino that has a sportsbook in operation in the state. Owned by Chruchill Downs and Rush Street Gaming, they are one of six casinos in Illinois that have recently applied for a sports gambling license.

The sportsbook bar in Rivers Casino Des Plaines opened already late last year as the operator wanted to have everything in place for sports betting as soon as possible. The casino has also extended their opening hours to 24 hours per day. The sportsbook is open from 10AM to 12AM, seven days a week.

Sports bettors will have to travel to the casino for now to place wagers, but a mobile betting offering is expected to go live at some point later this year. Rivers is currently already offering customers the chance to pre register for an online account. According to state law, customers will have to visit an approved casino before they can register an online betting account. 

Casinos with sports betting permits are currently the only entities that are allowed to offer online sports betting in Illinois. That restriction will be lifted in 18 months, after which online only operators are allowed to enter the market.

What does the future of sports betting look like in Illinois?

In total, three casinos in Illinois have already received sports betting permits and three more have applied for a permit recently. 

Argosy Casino Alton was supposed to open their sportsbook in time for March Madness. With the NCAA cancelling the tournament due to the current health situation, their launch might have to wait for a better spot. 

Additionally, the Fairmount Park racetrack is also hoping to secure a permit. Sports bettors will soon be able to find action from multiple locations across the state.

There are ten casinos and three racetracks in total in Illinois right now, all of which are allowed to apply for a sports betting permit. The state is also looking to add six more casinos. Ten applications have already been sent to the Illinois Gaming Board by different operators who are interested in acquiring one of the six available new casino licenses. 

Plans include building a casino in the southern suburbs of Chicago, and in Waukegan, Rockford, Danville and Williamson County. 

And that’s not all. The expanded gambling bill also allows licenses for 20 new sportsbooks. The new opportunities are estimated to have the potential to bring the state’s gambling revenue tax up by $350 million. The estimate also takes into account permits for new gaming positions, such as slot machines. In the last measured twelve-month period, the state generated more than $1.4 billion in gambling tax.

Online betting will surely be a big factor in bringing in more revenue. In neighboring Indiana, where legal sports betting was launched last September, at least 60% of sports betting revenue comes from wagers that are placed online. In New Jersey, that number is closer to 90%.

This article was based on information reported by the Chicago Sun Times, the Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business, and 13 WREX.

The ScoreMetrics Lab will keep you informed of all interesting developments in the US sports betting market. For an overview of the current legal status of sports gambling, read our special report, titled “America is Gambling on Sports”, here.

And to get up and running with smart investing in the sports betting market, check out our very own John Todora’s new book – “Zero Correlation Investing – The Score Metrics Secret”. It’s currently on sale for a limited time, so go get yours now!

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