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Illinois Gaming Board launches sports betting consultation


The Illinois Gaming Board has launched a public consultation to gain input from the public, the gambling industry and other stakeholders about proposed sports wagering regulations in the state.

The consultation began yesterday (27 August) and will run to 27 September, and comes as work begins on developing a regulatory framework for sports betting in the state.

In June, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law the gaming expansion bill passed by the state legislature. While neighbouring Iowa – whose governor signed a sports betting bill into law in May – has already taken its first legal bets and with Indiana soon to follow, Illinois still needs to map out specific regulations for the vertical.

It therefore remains unclear when the state’s betting market will actually open for business.

Illinois Gaming Board administrator Marcus Fruchter described the consultation as an important step in building that framework and moving towards opening the market.

“The Sports Wagering Act was signed on June 28, 2019,” Fruchter said. ” This public comment period is an important step in a process to ethically and expeditiously establish a regulatory framework to allow sports wagering in Illinois.

“In order to make the process of rule creation as transparent and independent as possible, it is important that the public and various stakeholders have an equal opportunity to submit comments about the Sports Wagering Act contained in P.A 101-0031.”

Once all comments are submitted, the board will post all sports wagering comments on its website.

Sports betting was legalized as part of Senate Bill 690, a package of gaming expansion measures and part of Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois capital plan, which aims to invest $45bn in infrastructure and education programmes in the state.

The bill sets out a $10m master license fee for casinos and racetracks, and a $20m online wagering license. Stadia with a 17,000 capacity or higher will also be able to secure licences, at a cost of $10m, allowing them to offer mobile betting within a five-block radius.

Licensees will pay a 15% gross revenue tax, with players required to sign up for an account in person for the first 18 months following the market’s opening.

The gaming expansion bill also allows for the establishment of six new land-based casinos, including a major facility in Chicago, as well as the roll-out of slot machines at racetracks and the O’Hare and Midway airports. 

However plans for the Chicago facility were dealt a blow by a report commissioned by the state Gaming Board earlier this month. The study, by Union Gaming Analytics, concluded that none of the five potential sites for a casino in Chicago, also promised in the gaming expansion bill, are “financially feasible” due to the current tax and fee structure in place in the city.