Illinois’ Lawmakers Approve Sports Betting Bill

After extending their legislative session to last through the weekend, Illinois lawmakers found a compromise and approved a sports betting bill.

The bill passed both the House and the Senate on Sunday and now awaits the signature of Governor J.B. Pritzker before becoming a law.

Betting experts believe the bill meets Gov. Pritzker’s demands for high licensing fees and he is expected to add his signature to the measure later in June.

The Illinois Senate voted 46-10 to pass SB 690 after the House had approved the measure earlier in the day.

One of the bill’s cheerleaders, state Rep. Mike Zalewski applauded the completion of the bill.

“Today is the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work, determination and teamwork behind a vision for entertainment and economic opportunity in Illinois.”

The gaming industry in the state also heralded the bill as a stimulus that will help the state’s casinos and racetracks.

Richard Schwartz, President of Rush Street Interactive, which runs the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois, said in a statement that the hard work of the legislators paid off.

“Thanks to Governor Pritzker’s leadership, and the weekend overtime hours put in by the General Assembly, we are excited by the legalization of sports betting.”

What Are The Main Highlights of The Illinois Sports Betting Bill?

The bill allows casinos, racetracks, and sports venues to offer sports betting, both in person and with a mobile application.

The move to include sports venues with over 17,000 seats is a broad expansion of sports betting that most lawmakers did not expect to see in the final bill.

Venues with capacities larger than 17,000 can apply for a license to offer sports betting at the facility or within a five-block radius of the facility.

The bill does block betting on Illinois schools, outlawing the ability to bet on in-state college games.

Sports leagues will also be happy with the final Illinois bill because it will force the use of official data from the professional leagues for all proposition and in-game betting.

After Gov. Pritzker places his signature on the bill, Illinois’ residents can expect to see betting in early 2020.

Did Lawmakers’ “Penalty Box” Amendment Against DraftKings and FanDuel Stick?

Lawmakers tried to punish DraftKings and FanDuel for operating daily fantasy games in the state in 2015 after the state’s attorney general said the action was illegal.

Previous versions of the sports betting bill put the two companies in a “penalty box” for three years, but the two sides came to a compromise.

DraftKings and FanDuel will be allowed to operate during the launch of sports betting in the state but they will have to do so with the help of a casino for the first 18 months.

Both companies were less than happy at this arrangement created by the state.

“While it is good to see sports betting bills passed, excluding DraftKings and FanDuel is like passing a ride-sharing bill that excludes Uber and Lyft,” DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said.

“Very disappointing that Illinois customers will not have the best options available to them for 18 months.”

It is unsure if the two companies will follow through with a lawsuit to free them from the stipulation.