Decisions Still Coming For Illinois Gaming Industry
The Illinois sports betting industry has emerged as one of the biggest in the United States, but it could be even better.
The Illinois Gaming Board oversees and regulates the industry, but it is the lawmakers in Illinois that set the rules.
With this in mind, lawmakers have brought forward a number of new bills that could change and improve the sports betting landscape. Lawmakers are also looking into possibly legalizing online casino gaming, making the iGaming industry a leader in the US as well.
The Illinois General Assembly is set to adjourn on May 31, and time is running out to pass any new bills. Some of these topics will be officially addressed in the coming weeks, with a final decision being announced.
College Sports Still A Question
Representative Mike Zalewski was one of the main supporters of legal sports betting in Illinois, and now he is pushing a major change to the industry. Zalewski continues to focus on a bill that would remove the current ban on college sports betting in Illinois.
Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman is one of the leaders of banning betting on in-state college teams, and he has support from other university leaders. This debate has really heated up in recent months, especially since bettors were unable to bet on the Fighting Illini in the NCAA Tournament.
Zalewski argues that bettors in Illinois are still finding ways to bet on the in-state teams, and they are crossing over into other markets to do so. It’s not likely that a bill will be approved by May 31 to change these laws, but this is something that will occur in the future.
Registration Rules Hurting Growth
Illinois established in-person registration for sports betting as a way to keep online-only operators out of the state. This was done in an effort to give retail casinos a chance to establish themselves as leaders in the industry.
This rule did not keep out these operators, as companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel were able to partner with a casino to gain market access. The COVID-19 pandemic was also having a big impact on the success of sports betting, and Governor J.B. Pritzker took matters into his own hands.
Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-41 last summer to jumpstart the online industry, and that worked out well. The governor continued to extend that order for months, but he let it expire for good in April.
Lawmakers have introduced a bill that would remove the in-person registration requirement, and a potential vote could be coming before May 31.
Online Casinos Have Opposition
The success of online sports betting has encouraged lawmakers to look at new iGaming options as well. Online casino bills have been introduced in the past, but that industry has gained some serious momentum in 2021.
Illinois already offers video gaming terminals throughout the state, and those continue to bring in large amounts of money. Leaders of the VGT industry, including suppliers, have been outspoken in their opposition to online casinos.
This is another bill that does not seem to have enough traction to pass in 2021 but will continue to be a point of discussion moving forward.
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