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Betting experts are warning eager Illinois residents that the state won’t have their infrastructure ready to begin taking sports bets by the beginning of the NFL season.
The same holds true for the city’s beloved Cubs, who might be in the World Series hunt once again in October. Experts are telling bettors not to expect to be able to bet on the MLB playoffs as well.
When looking at the calendar, it’s becoming more likely that Illinois will not be ready to take their first bet until sometime around next year’s Super Bowl in early February.
The reason for the delay is because the state must assemble a new Gaming Board that will oversee all betting in the state.
One of the sponsors of the sports betting bill, Rep Mike Zalewski, believes that the speed that the Gaming Board can assemble and set rules will determine the start date for wagering.
“It’ll depend largely on (Gov. Pritzker’s) new Gaming Board, how quickly they can get operational on this topic and decide how fast they issue licenses,” the representative said.
The governor must appoint a chairperson to head the board along with a fifth member to fill out the regulatory body.
The new board will stay busy as they will have to vet and supervise the addition of six new casinos to the state as well as monitor and regulate the launch of sports betting.
The Gaming Board will have to navigate unchartered waters as sports betting is an unknown entity to members in Illinois.
Casinos and racetracks in Illinois are taking steps to build sportsbooks on their properties and partner with sports betting companies to handle software and implementation.
In addition to the brick and mortar locations, Illinois are also offering stadiums and arenas the chance to jump into the ring and early indications signal that most facilities will offer wagering.
ESPN reported last month that the Chicago Cubs have started exploring the cost of building a sportsbook either inside or adjacent to the historic Wrigley Field.
For operators that want to offer sports betting in the state, they will have to pay a significant fee for their license.
Hoping to shrink a budget deficit, Gov. Pritzker demanded that all operators pay a $10 million fee for their license.
Once operators file their paperwork and submit their fee, then it is up to the Gaming Board to approve their application and set regulations for the industry.
That process could take a few months after the casinos and racetracks submit their application.
Physical locations that are approved for a license will be able to offer on-site betting and online bets via a mobile application.
The two betting powerhouses will be in line for one of three online-only licenses that the state offers around the beginning of 2021.
Although some sportsbook operators believe the Super Bowl target date is too conservative and a Thanksgiving start date is more realistic, no one will know until the Gaming Board has been formed.
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