It looks like Illinois is next in line to legalize sports betting this year. The Illinois House approved a massive bill that included legalized sports betting. Not even a day later, the Senate concurred on Sunday. The bill, SB 690, sounds like a dream come true for the state of Illinois. However, the bill has ruffled some feathers and is not as great as it seems, at least to some.
The state of Illinois is giving a huge advantage to its local gaming establishments by freezing out the likes of FanDuel and DraftKings for 18 months. Neil Bluhm, owner of the Rivers Casino outside of Chicago, asked that online operators like DraftKings and FanDuel be banned from operating sports betting in the state for three years, due to a “bad actor” clause. The clause would be due to the thought that FanDuel and DraftKings were operating daily fantasy sports in the state illegally in the past.
Not Everyone Happy
As expected, DraftKings and FanDuel fought on the idea of the three-year ban. Lawmakers in Illinois made a compromise in shortening the ban to half that time, 18 months. The daily fantasy sports giants turned sportsbooks were, of course, not happy.
DraftKings CEO and co-founder Jason Robins tweeted on Sunday morning, “While it is good to see sports betting bills passed, excluding DraftKings and FanDuel is like passing a ride-sharing bill that excludes Uber and Lyft. Very disappointing that Illinois customers will not have the best options available to them for 18 months.”
As a result of the bill, online-only operators will not be able to launch under their own brand for 18 months after physical locations in the state. While Bluhm didn’t get the three-year ban he was hoping for, his company, Rush Street Interactive, is happy with the bill.
Greg Carlin, CEO of Rush Street Interactive, had this to say:
“For the first time ever, Illinois sports fans will have access to legal, regulated and safe sports wagering platforms online and at casinos and race tracks throughout the state. We thank the overwhelming majority of legislators who believed that Illinois should implement sports wagering with responsible gaming operators who have a track record of integrity, innovation and strict adherence to all of Illinois’ statutes and laws.”
In regards to sports betting, the bill taxes adjusted gross revenue at 15 percent. It also prohibits betting on Illinois collegiate teams regardless of the location of the game. The bill does require the use of “official league data.” The number of online licenses is capped at three and the licensing fee is the highest in the country, $20 million. SB 690 also allows for six new casinos to be built in the state and allows racetracks to have slots and table games.
The bill is now headed to Governor JB Pritzker’s desk. The bill has far more to it than just sports betting, including a number of new taxes to help bring revenue to the state. This big money bill is certain to be signed by Pritzker. It looks like Bluhm and Rush Street Interactive got a big win over DraftKings and FanDuel.