Illinois to Open Sports Betting License Application Window in December

The Illinois Gaming Board will begin accepting sports betting applications from interested operators in December, the regulator revealed during a Thursday meeting.

The opening of the license application window will mark the first major step toward bringing athletic wagering to the state since the practice was legalized over the summer.

Gaming Board administrator Marcus Fruchter said Thursday that the regulator is ramping up preparations to make applications available before or on its next board meeting, which is slated to take place on December 19.

Illinois legalized sports betting this past summer as part of a sweeping gambling reform that also paved the way for the development of six new casinos in the state, the relocation of its 10 operational riverboat casinos onto dry land, and the addition of more video gaming terminals.

The legalization of sports betting was one of the important pieces of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s agenda during his first months in office. The state’s top official hopes to use tax money from expanded gambling to finance his $45 billion Rebuild Illinois capital plan.

While the state gambling regulator is targeting December opening of the license application process, it has not said how much time it would need to process all applications it will receive and when actual sports betting will be launched.

Mr. Fruchter told media after the board’s most recent meeting that “there are a lot of things to be looked at here, and we’re going about our business to look through it in a deliberate manner, within the resources that we have.”

Sports Betting in Illinois – What We Know So Far

Under the state’s expanded gambling law, all 10 riverboat casinos and all three existing horse race tracks will be able to apply for a license when and if the license application process opens next month.

In addition, seven of the state’s largest sports venues, that is to say stadiums and arenas with a seating capacity greater than 17,000 people, will also be able to apply for spots betting licenses with the Illinois Gaming Board. A stadium can operate a sportsbook inside or within five blocks under state law.

Physical sports betting facilities will also be able to offer digital wagering. However, bettors will first need to register at the state’s retail sportsbooks in order to be able to place bets via their mobile phones or desktop.

Sports betting licenses will come at a cost of $10 million, which many say is a bit on the steep side. Once sports wagering goes live in Illinois, the state will take 15% of its sportsbooks’ annual revenue.

There will also be three online-only sports betting licenses up for grabs. However, those will become available 18 months after the start of athletic gambling in the state and will cost $20 million.

While Illinois is yet to open the license application process, neighboring Indiana enjoys an explosive start of sports betting. The state’s retail and digital sportsbooks handled $91.7 million in bets in October, the second month of regulated sports betting in the state. Mobile wagering accounted for the majority of action in the Hoosier State. And many Illinois residents took a short drive across the border to take part in that action, while anticipating the start of legal betting in their home state.

Source: Illinois sportsbooks to get license applications in next six weeks — but still no timetable for launch, The Chicago Sun-Times

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