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Illinois passes sports betting bill that favors land operators over online gambling

Illinois state lawmakers have finally come up with a sports betting bill that had enough bells and whistles on it to make a trip to the governor’s desk for signing. On Sunday night, SB690, which contained a number of capital improvement measures alongside the regulation of sports betting passed both the House and Senate by large margins. Once Governor J.B. Pritzker puts his signature on the bill, Illinois residents will be well on their way to legally wagering on the outcome of games at Wrigley Field and Soldier Field.
While SB690 is a major step forward, it’s also heavily stilted in favor of land-based casinos over online operators and that favoritism starts at the licensing fee. Under the terms of the bill, online operators must pay an astounding $20 million and an additional $1 million every four years to maintain the license. Their land-based counterparts have to pony up fiver percent of their revenue from the previous year. That fee tops out at $10 million and is a great deal for casinos that aren’t doing well financially.
Land-based casinos will have another advantage over online as online bettors have to register at a land-based location for the first 18 months that regulated sports betting is in effect. This gives traditional casinos a major advantage when it comes to customer acquisition and brand building. That advantage gets even greater when you add in the fact that online operators won’t even be allowed to apply for licenses until after the market has been operating for 18 months.
Lawmakers anticipate that regulated sports betting in the Land of Lincoln will put as much as $200 million in increased revenue from the new gambling activities.