First Look At Illinois Sports Betting Unveiled In House Bill

  • First Look At Illinois Sports Betting Unveiled In House BillIllinois Sports Betting Bill Includes Four Possible Avenues To Legalize The Activity
  • Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker Previously Included Sports Betting Revenue In Proposed State Budget
  • Illinois Would Be First Midwestern State To Legalize Sports Betting If A Bill Is Passed.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – With a sports betting market as big as it is in Illinois, many expect a bill to pass this year. State legislators now have four options coming from one bill, known as HB 3308, giving them a first look as to what a sports wagering model would look like in Illinois.

The proposal was introduced earlier this week by Illinois House Representative Michael J. Zalewski, a chair of the House Revenue and Finance Committee. The bill included four separate possible amendments modeled after states that have already legalized gambling on sports.

The most likely amendment to pass would seek to emulate the New Jersey Model. Brick-and-mortar gaming facilities would have to pay a 15 percent tax rate on sports betting revenue while online sports wagering platforms would have to pay 20 percent.

Each casino applying for a sports gambling license would have to pay $10 million dollars up front and pay $250,000 every five years as part of a renewal fee.

They would be allowed to partner with two other companies to provide online betting and each one of those partners would have to pay a million dollars up front and pay $500,000 every five years as well.

“I think the New Jersey model is what most people expected [Illinois’] to look like,” Zalewski said.

The bill also called for a different amendment that would look more like the Mississippi sports betting laws. While very similar to the New Jersey Model, there are some key differences.

Essentially the gaming facilities would have to pay a higher annual fee more often and limits the total amount of online betting operators to 10 in the state. Mobile betting would also have to take place at the properties of physical sportsbooks.

The next possible amendment would favor the professional sports leagues that people bet on. Sports bettors would be limited to placing wagers in professional sports venues and a royalty percentage of .25 percent would be given to the leagues as part of an integrity fee.

This amendment is similar to the Mississippi model in that mobile betting would be allowed but only inside the stadium or arena of that professional sports team.

The final possibility presented in this bill would set the Illinois lottery in charge of all sports gambling operations and would set a tax rate of 50% for all revenue generated by this gaming expansion. While this may be the least likely to pass, Zalewski insisted on the idea.

“I know there would be a lot of opponents to this idea, but we feel it’s worth having the lottery conversation because we can have one operator pay a large upfront fee.”

How Will Sports Betting In Illinois Pan Out?

The amendments presented in this bill were more targeted towards being conversation starters rather than set in stone laws. The first hearing on the possible amendments could occur as soon as next week.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker previously included sports betting revenue in his initial state budget proposal. He estimated about $200 million to be generated from this type of gaming alone.

“Any gaming bill is difficult to get through, and we’re probably going to need the governor’s help to pass something like this,” said Zeleski.

This year’s legislative session ends on May 31, knows that in order for any new sports betting laws to become active, state legislators will have to choose a path and get a bill on Governer Pritzker’s desk to sign before then.

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