Home Delivery

News, features, sports, opinion and more!

Email Newsletters

Sign up for News Tribune email newsletters and stay in the know.
Local

Hold your bets: Still no timeline for sports wagering in Illinois

Want to bet money on the Super Bowl? It might not be a possibility in Illinois this football season. Tonya Sharpe of Princeton and Dominic Culjan of Utica cheer while watching Monday Night Football at Jakes Pour House in La Salle. Illinois still has not set an official timeline for when sports wagering will be enacted while neighboring states are already earning revenue.
Want to bet money on the Super Bowl? It might not be a possibility in Illinois this football season. Tonya Sharpe of Princeton and Dominic Culjan of Utica cheer while watching Monday Night Football at Jakes Pour House in La Salle. Illinois still has not set an official timeline for when sports wagering will be enacted while neighboring states are already earning revenue.

If you are making football bets in Illinois on Feb. 2, 2020, they probably won’t be legal.

The Super Bowl is the single most popular sporting event of the year, but it still may not be lawful to place wagers in Illinois when the big game rolls around.

There is still no formal timetable for when sports wagering will be legal in Illinois. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the bill into law on June 28 after passing both houses on June 2. But in the four and a half months since, the Illinois Gaming Board has been working out the official sports wagering rules.

Recently, the gaming board said licensing applications would soon be available to vendors.

“We’ve been told that applications should probably be available at the next board meeting,” said Tom Swoik, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association.

The Illinois Gaming Board next meets in December. Casinos, racetracks, stadiums, and lottery vendors can apply for those licenses. Standalone mobile operators (DraftKings, FanDuel, etc.) have an 18-month “penalty box” period before starting in Illinois. Mobile operators tied to a brick and mortar establishment will get a head start.

Once the Illinois Gaming Board has finalized their rules, the guidelines are then filed with the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office and Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris), a member of the committee, said they too do not know when those rules will be coming their way.

“The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules has not yet been sent rules regarding sports wagering by the Gaming Board. Once the Gaming Board sends their rules, JCAR will undergo the appropriate process for adoption,” she said.

Illinois will tax gross revenues from sports wagering at 15% and charge vendors like casinos a maximum $10 million licensing fee. However, those numbers will differentiate among casinos based on how much revenue they earned the previous year. Illinois will only licenses up to three standalone mobile operators and charge those daily fantasy sports companies a $20 million licensing fee.

The Illinois Gaming Board recently completed a public comment period on sports wagering and posted the 357-page file on its website in October. Some comments showed support, while others were against adding sports wagering in Illinois. But a majority of the pages are studies passed along from gaming companies.

In the meantime, Illinois is sandwiched between two states that moved forward on sports wagering in the past couple of months. Indiana and Iowa both started taking sports bets around the start of the football season.

“They are up and running, and we kind of got left in the dust,” Swoik said.

And at least for Indiana, two of its most popular casinos for sports wagering are right across the state line.

Indiana

When did it start? Sports betting officially started Sept. 1. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, a Republican, signed the bill into law May 9 after lawmakers approved it in April.

What are their taxes? Indiana taxes the total adjusted gross revenue from sports betting at 9.5% and charges a $100,000 initial licensing fee for vendors.

How much have they made? Through October, the state of Indiana earned $1,909,263 from its state tax on sports wagering, according to revenue reports from the Indiana Gaming Commission. The total handle was $126,912,809 in the initial two months.

Booming on the borders? The Ameristar Casino in East Chicago and the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond are currently the top two performers in Indiana for sports wagering. Both are located just east of the Illinois border. In total, the casinos earned a combined $71,242,094 in total handle and $959,289 in taxes, which makes up just over half of the state’s tax revenue. There are currently eight other casinos with sports books in Indiana.

Iowa

When did it start? Sports wagering officially started on Aug. 15. The bill was signed into law by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, on May 13. Lawmakers approved the bill in April.

What are their taxes? Iowa charges a 6.75% rate on gross revenue with a $45,000 initial licensing fee for vendors.

How much have they made? Through October, the state of Iowa earned $861,846.46 in its state tax on sports wagering, according to revenue reports from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. The total handle (total amount wagered on sports) was $93,605,609.75 in those months.

Booming on the borders? Iowa has five casinos located in cities across the Mississippi River from Illinois. Two are in the Quad Cities with the other three in Dubuque, Clinton and Burlington. Those five casinos combined for $11,361,336.37 in total sports wagering handle and $109,847 in taxes. Of Iowa’s 18 casinos active in sports wagering, that makes up about 13% of the market.

Brett Herrmann can be reached at (815) 220-6933 or bherrmann@newstrib.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_Herrmann.

Loading more