States have been lining up to legalize sports betting, and it has been a hot topic of debate throughout the country during the last few months. The state of Illinois is one of those states where the issue has been debated for a long time, but they have finally made a decision. Illinois is one of the poorest states in the country, and they were desperate for the revenue that sports betting would be able to provide them. Lawmakers spent several weeks trying to tweak a sports betting bill that would make sense for everyone, and they were able to get it passed just under the deadline. Illinois is one of the best sporting states in the country, with the city of Chicago having a professional team in each of the four major sports. The state of Illinois is going to see a huge boost in revenue with this new bill, and sports betting will play a huge role in watching sports for the die-hard fans across the state.
At a Glance
- Status of Betting AT A GLANCE: The Illinois senate recently voted to approve a new sports betting bill that will make sports betting legal throughout the state. There are a few interesting stipulations that this bill included, but you can bet that the new law will be looked into closely and there will be some changes at a later date. Govern Pritzker is expected to sign the bill into law sometime this summer, giving people the chances to purchase licenses to open up betting.
- Where to Bet AT A GLANCE: Illinois might have approved legalized sports betting, but they also put pretty strict limits on who can take bets and where. With the new law, professional sports stadiums will likely be the best place to bet in Illinois, along with casinos throughout the state. Online and mobile betting is going to be rolled out slowly, but after 18 months, betting online might be the best place to make a bet in the state.
- Teams AT A GLANCE: The state of Illinois has some of the most storied franchises in professional sports within its borders, and all of them are found in the city of Chicago. Chicago has thrown their fare share of championship parades in recent seasons, but there are die-hard fans throughout the state. Residents of Chicago will argue about which team is the most popular in the city, but they all have plenty of fan support.
Status of Sports Betting
The United State Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting in the fall of 2017, leaving the decision up to each individual state. New Jersey was one of the first states to capitalize on the new law, and have seen tremendous amounts of revenue by legalizing sports betting. The state of Illinois is in desperate need of money, and legalizing sports betting seemed like the perfect solution. Governor J.B. Pritzker was in full support of the legislation, but it took awhile for the legislature to figure it out. Just before the May 31 deadline, the Illinois senate voted to pass a bill that legalized sports betting, and Pritzker is expected to sign the bill into law sometime in June.
Illinois was actually one of the states that went after big companies like FanDuel and DraftKings for operating inside of the state without a legal license. FanDuel and DraftKings are an online company that was taking bets from residents in Illinois when it was still illegal. The state of Illinois went after these two companies with a lawsuit in 2017, and keeping them out of operation with this new bill was one of the main reasons it took so long to get the bill passed.
When this new law comes into effect, brick and mortar locations are going to have an 18 month head start over online companies. Casinos currently in operation will be given the chance to apply for a license to allow sports betting, and new casinos have been given the opportunity to start up. The state of Illinois also is allowing stadiums with a capacity of over 17,000 people the ability to offer sports betting to their fans within a five-block radius of the stadium. One of the biggest stipulations with this new bill is that betting on colleges and universities in the state of Illinois is prohibited.
Where to Bet Sports
The state of Illinois wanted to give their brick and mortar locations a head start over the online companies, and they also wanted to include their professional sports teams. They are allowing stadiums with a capacity of at least 17,000 people the opportunity to apply for a betting license and they can offer betting within a five-block radius of their venue. This will make betting at professional sporting events the top place to bet throughout the state and in the city of Chicago especially. Eventually, betting online or through a mobile device might be the best place to bet, but that won’t be the case when the law goes into effect.
Soldier Field: Soldier Field is the home of the Chicago Bears, and is one of the best places to visit during the fall and winter months. The stadium holds over 61,000 people, and you expect that a large number of fans will be interested in placing some bets on their beloved Bears. One major issue with Soldier Field is the location, and it will be hard to set up betting establishments within the required distance. The Bears and the NFL might have to take matters into their own hands to allow betting at Soldier Field.
Wrigley Field: The home of the Chicago Cubs will be another place that should be one of the top places to bet in the state of Illinois. Wrigley Field is the second-oldest baseball stadium in baseball, but the Cubs have made plenty of updates through the years. Betting kiosks might not make their way inside of the actual stadium, but “Wrigleyville” will be a hotspot for sports bettors. Wrigley Field is surrounded by an extremely vibrant neighborhood and there will be brick and mortar locations popping up after this bill is passed.
United Center: The United Center hosts the Bulls and Blackhawks and a host of other events. The arena seats over 23,000 people, but there are plenty of other locations inside the United Center that would be great for taking sports bets. The NBA has made it clear that they support sports betting, and they will work closely with the Bulls to get something set up at the UC. The NHL hasn’t been as quick to jump on board, but that won’t be the case in Illinois for the Blackhawks games. There isn’t a ton of space around the United Center to get this operation going, and most of it will be done inside the building.
Guaranteed Rate Field: The South Side home of the Chicago White Sox could use some new life brought into it. Guaranteed Rate Field is the current name of the ballpark, although that could change before betting is legalized. The White Sox actually had a betting scandal rock their organization 100 years ago in the World Series, and would love the opportunity to let their fans officially and legally make bets on the game. There is some room to set up betting establishments around the ballpark, although it’s not as vibrant as Wrigleyville.
Casinos: There are 16 casinos currently in operation throughout the “Land of Lincoln” and these locations will be able to offer sports betting if they apply for a license. It might be hard for people in Southern Illinois to make the trek to Chicago, so visiting a casino that is close to them would make more sense. The Harrah’s Metropolis Casino in Metropolis, Illinois will be a go-to destination for downstate residents, and there are a number of attractive options for people in the Chicagoland area. The Par-A-Dice casino in Central Illinois is one of the most popular in the state, and could see a huge boost in attendance and revenue after applying for a license.
Lastly, let’s list out a few of the biggest cities that might capitalize on sports betting:
- Chicago Sports Betting
The Illinois Senate wrapped up their spring session by passing a bill that will legalize sports betting throughout the state. Governor J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign the bill into law in June and casinos and sports stadiums can begin applying for licenses shortly. Lawmakers are expecting to bring in $700 million in revenues in the first year with taxes and licensing fees that will be used to repair infrastructure across the state.
The Illinois General Assembly was supposed to adjourn on May 31, but they voted to extend the deadline through the weekend. While there were other things still on the agenda, legalizing sports betting across the state was the biggest reason to stay in Springfield. New language was added to the bill that would seem to benefit more parties across the state.
FanDuel and DraftKings spent a lot of money trying to win over voters, but pulled advertising near the end of May. These two DFS companies believed that Illinois did not have the right to keep them from operating in their state, and warned residents of the potential revenue they are losing out on. Lawmakers in Illinois are implementing an 18-month waiting period for online gambling as a way to shutdown these two companies.
Sports Teams That Drive Betting
The best teams in the state of Illinois all play their home games in the city of Chicago, but there are other successful teams throughout the state. The Bears, Bulls, Cubs, Blackhawks, and White Sox are all professional teams that call Illinois home, and all of them have enjoyed success recently. There are some terrific college sports teams throughout the state of well, with the University of Illinois being the most prestigious.
The Chicago Bulls were the Kings of the NBA during the 1990’s when Michael Jordan was leading the team to six NBA Championships. The Bulls have fallen on tough times in recent years, but they are still beloved throughout the city of Chicago. Some residents of Illinois might choose to follow other teams, but most NBA fans watch and root for the Bulls. The United Center is always rocking when the Bulls are hosting a game.
The Chicago Bears are one of the most storied franchises in NFL history, and there is no doubt they will help drive sports betting in Illinois. Da Bears are probably the most popular team in Chicago, and the whole state of Illinois seems to root for them. The NFL has been closely aligned with sports betting for a few years, and that will help the Bears push the issue in Illinois.
Illinois is fortunate to have a pair of MLB teams in their state, and they also have one just across the border in Missouri. Baseball fans in Chicago are split on the Cubs and White Sox, but they are both extremely popular. The Cubs are one of the most popular teams in the country, and fans flock to Chicago to see the Cubs play in the summer. If that’s not enough, the St. Louis Cardinals play their home games just across the Mississippi River in Missouri.
The Chicago Blackhawks have won three Stanley Cup Championships in the past decade, and have become extremely popular throughout the state. The Blackhawks also play their home games at the United Center, and sell out every single night. Hockey might not be as popular around the country, but that’s not the case in Illinois. Residents love their Blackhawks, and they will love to bet on them.
The Fighting Illini are usually the top college team in the state of Illinois, but there are Big Ten and Missouri Valley Conference teams scattered throughout. Unfortunately, Illinois residents can’t bet on their favorite NCAA teams, but that could always change in the future.
Sports fans in Illinois are extremely lucky to have so many great teams to root for, and they have witnessed a ton of championships in recent years. Illinois is one of the best sporting states in the country, and there is no doubt that sports betting is going to take off in a hurry.
Casinos will be able to apply for a license to allow sports betting within their walls. This new bill also allows for expanded casino gambling throughout the state of Illinois.
Sports betting will be legal in Illinois after Governor J.B. Pritzker officially signs the bill. Brick and mortar locations will have an 18-month jump over online companies.
Off track betting has been legal in Illinois for quite some time, and this new law will expand hose track betting throughout the state of Illinois.
Illinois currently has 16 casinos within its borders and poker is legal at these establishments. It is illegal to operate an online poker operation in the “Land of Lincoln,” but playing online poker isn’t a punishable offense.
Companies like DraftKings and FanDuel will have to wait at least 18 months to start adding Illinois residents to their list of customers. The Illinois legislature made it clear that these companies were not operating in good faith before passing this bill.
The state of Illinois runs the lottery, and places a heavy tax on anyone who buys a lotto ticket. Taxes are expected to increase as well with the passing of this new law.
Sports Betting Timeline
June 2, 2019: Illinois Senate approves a bill that will legalize sports betting across the state.
June 1, 2019: Illinois House of Representatives approves SB690.
May 31, 2019: Illinois legislators agree to extend their spring session.
May 8, 2019: Two new amendments were added to a bill that favor expanded casino gambling.
May 2018: General Assembly adjourns with no action taken on sports betting bill.
March 2018: Sports betting bill law introduced.
2009: Video Gaming Act is passed in Illinois, expanding gambling throughout the state.