Following the lead of other Midwestern states that approved sportsbooks, the state of Illinois passed a law legalizing sports betting. And, Illinois’ citizens are thrilled with the idea of having sports gambling available to them. However, they are going to have to wait. The Illinois Gaming Board opened a public comment period on Aug. 27. The public can voice opinions on what it wants to see in sports betting. This comment period lasts until Sept. 27.
The New Betting Law
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the law that allows for a massive gambling expansion. Part of the gambling expansion included sports betting. Large sports venues with a capacity of more than 17,000 will be able to open a sportsbook. The United Center, Soldier Field, and Wrigley Field can have sportsbooks, for example.
What the Bill Covers
The comprehensive bill will also allow six new casinos in the state. Several municipalities, including Waukegan, Chicago, Danville, and Williamson County, have permission to build casinos. Chicago will get the largest casino with 4,000 seats. This is a combination of table games and slot machines. The other casinos will get up to 2,000 seats. The casino in Williamson County will have 1,200 seats.
The state believes it will be getting a cash cow once gambling is fully open. The governor has projected the gambling expansion could bring in $2.7 billion in one-time revenue. After the rush toward licensing fees, user fees, and one-time expenses, the governor projects an average of $470 million. Pritzker anticipated the six casinos should bring in $360 million for licenses. That includes $200 million to $300 million for new casino bids. Experts expect the casinos to bring in between $1.2 billion and $1.8 billion yearly. The state has also estimated the recurring revenue from slot machines would be $170 million each year. The governor hopes to use much of the revenue in his $45 billion capital plan.
Hurry Up and Wait
Before legislators can adjust the gambling schedule, they will have to go into a comment period for sports gambling. Until the Sept. 27 deadline, the public, businesses, and government officials will continue to make suggestions. While some people are in favor of the extended comment period, others are ready to begin gambling. Some gamblers believe the public comment period is too long. They believe it will push gambling back until after the start of football season. Many people wanted sports gambling to be in place before the season started. By the time the public finishes making its comments, the pro football season will have been in session for four weeks. The college football season will have been in session for five weeks.
After the public comment period closes, people can, then, begin gambling. The Illinois General Assembly said it will begin to look for vendors for the casino gaming bill. The state wants on-site and online sportsbooks. The requests for proposals should go out as soon as the public comment period is over. On-site gambling may come a lot faster for patrons than online gambling. Online gambling venues take longer to set up and play than on-site venues.
Once the state chooses the online and on-site sportsbooks, they will have to go through a licensing period. Each sportsbook will have to be thoroughly run and checked for problems with its software. After a soft launch, the gambling venues will need to make sure that all their betting equipment works properly. It doesn’t matter how long it will take for the state to get the mobile and online sportsbooks up and. There will be people waiting to place their first bets.
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