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Illinois launches sports betting licensing process


The Illinois Gaming Board has issued emergency rules to kick off the first phase of the state’s sports betting licensing process. 

The emergency rules issued by the Gaming Board make master sports wagering, management service provider, supplier, official league data supplier, management service provider and occupational licenses available. 

They set out the eligibility criteria for each, and confirm the fee for master licenses will be 5% of handle for the 2018 calendar year, at a minimum of $2.3m, and capped at $10m. Racetracks that apply for this license will pay whichever is greater of $5m or 5% of 2018 handle, also capped at $10m. 

While an online betting license is to be capped at $20m, this is not included in the emergency rules.

They also set out the licensing process, and allow the regulator to issue temporary operating permits in “situations that do not compromise gaming integrity or public safety and that can be granted in an ethical and expeditious manner”.

“Today’s release of applications and phase 1 rules is a significant step in the process the General Assembly and Governor Pritzker began earlier this year – the ethical and transparent implementation of sports wagering in Illinois,” Illinois Gaming Board administrator Marcus Fruchter said.

This followed a 30 day comment period, running from August into September, that saw industry stakeholders make a number of suggested changes, such as a 270 day grace period for operators to comply with regulations.

“Illinois Gaming Board staff used responses from the comment period to inform the rules and also derived best practices from states where sports wagering is already being conducted in order to develop a regulatory framework and implementation process that are right for Illinois and will protect the public interest,” Fruchter added.

While the licensing process can now get underway, Gaming Board staff will draft the necessary rules to actually make sports betting operational. These are expected to be released early in 2020. 

Sports wagering was legalized in Illinois in July this year as part of a package of gaming expansion measures signed into law by Governor J.B Pritzker. This also allows for six new casino licenses, will allow up to four racetracks to obtain casino licenses and allowed for more video gaming terminals across the state.