Legal sports betting in Illinois opened to the public on Monday, March 9 — just in time for 2020 March Madness.
Rivers Casino in Des Plaines was the first to take a bet inside its retail sportsbook after receiving approval from the Illinois Gaming Board. Several other casinos have received temporary approval and are expected to follow.
Mobile betting is still not available. There’s no timeline to launch online a this time as applications have not yet been submitted.
The history of sports betting efforts in Illinois is a brief but relatively extensive one. There was a flurry of activity on the sports betting front in the legislature, which culminated in legislation being passed on the last day of the 2019 sessio. Notably, earlier in the 2019 session, there were up to five sports betting proposals being considered.
Ultimately, state lawmakers approved a vertical funding bill that included considerable gaming expansion within the state, with sports betting as a central component. As outlined in the bill, there will be six categories of licensure for Illinois sports betting (master sports wagering, occupational, supplier management services provider, Tier 2 official league data provider and central system provider).
Casinos, racetracks and sports venues within the state such as Soldier Field and the United Center can serve as retail sports betting locations. Additionally, a state lottery implementation of sports betting that would consist of approximately 2,500 retail locations is also part of the legislation. Online wagering is also authorized, with master sports wagering licensees the only ones permitted to offer it for the first 18 months.
Additional particulars of the bill, including licensing fees and tax rates, can be found here.
What still needs to happen?
Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the legislation into law in June 2019. Now there will be multiple steps to the actual rollout of sports betting within the state, beginning with the licensure process for the six different levels of sports betting providers authorized by the legislation.
Projected sports betting launch date
Now that Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed off on the legislation, the countdown to the rollout of legalized sports betting will begin. At the moment, it’s difficult to predict when the first operator will be ready to open for business within the state, but the start of the 2019 NFL season would likely be a principal target date for the first operators to be up and running.
Where can I bet on sports in Illinois?
Illinois’ riverboat casinos would likely get the first shot at sports betting licenses. Here are the 10 casinos in the state:
- Casino Queen
- Grand Victoria
- Harrah’s Joliet
- Harrah’s Metropolis
- Hollywood Aurora
- Hollywood Joliet
- Rivers Casino