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Sports Betting Alliance Fights Proposed Illinois Tax Hike

The Sports Betting Alliance is going all out to prevent Illinois lawmakers from raising taxes on sportsbooks from from 15 percent to 35 percent. The group, which represent operators including BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Fanatics Sportsbook, is mobilizing a massive e-mail campaign to its customers while simultaneously applying pressure to individual lawmakers as part of its fight.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker included the proposed tax hike in his 2025 draft budget. His office says the proposed tax hike shouldn’t be much of a burden for operators, especially given the fact that they’re already taxed at much higher rates in other states. He clarified his position on sports betting taxes in a statement reported on by 2 News Chicago saying, “Since the legalization of sports betting in Illinois, gaming companies have enjoyed one of the lowest sports wagering taxes in the nation. In that time, the sports betting industry has exploded and companies like DraftKings and FanDuel have seen incredible profits. By raising the wagering tax to 35%, Illinois would still be a far cry from the highest rates in the country, with New York, for example hovering around 50%.”

Not surprisingly, the Sports Betting Alliance raised the specter of black market betting in its response to the proposed tax hike. A spokesman for the group painted a dark picture of a post-tax hike betting landscape saying, “Raising taxes on sports betting will allow illegal offshore sports operators to provide better odds and a competitive advantage over law-abiding sports books, crowd out smaller, startup and minority owned operators and their business partners, and threaten the long-term health and tax revenue generated by the legal market.”

While lawmakers debate the issue, the Sports Betting Alliance is pressing more than 50,000 Illinois gamblers via an email campaign asking them to tell their representatives to oppose the tax hike.

The state of Illinois has collected $387 million in taxes from sports betting operators on $2.6 billion worth of revenue since sports betting was legalized there back in 2019.