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Illinois Passes Sports Betting Legislation

Bill Legalizes Online And Retail Sports Betting, And Brings A Casino To Chicago

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The Illinois legislature passed a bill on Sunday that will likely bring legal sports betting to the state.

SB 690 passed in the Senate by a 46-10 vote and it made its way through the house by a margin of 87-27. The bill will allow sports betting online, at the state’s casinos, racetracks and at any sports facility with seating capacity greater than 17,000.

Those venues will be allowed to offer sports betting at or within a five-block radius of the venue, meaning there is a possibility that Cubs fans will be able to bet on their favorite team from inside Wrigley Field.

According to ESPN, sports betting licenses will cost the operators $10 million and are valid for four years. Operators will be taxed at 15 percent of their total revenue.

“Today is the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work, determination and teamwork behind a vision for entertainment and economic opportunity in Illinois,” said Rep. Mike Zalewski in a statement, who has been a proponent for legal sports betting in the state for many years and a proponent of the bill.

The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who is likely to sign the bill later this month. When Pritzker released his budget in February, it included $200 million in tax revenue from legalized sports betting.

The sports leagues were lobbying for an integrity fee, but there was no integrity fee included in the bill. However, operators will be forced to purchase official data from leagues to grade wagers on winning tickets.

Online operators, such as FanDuel and DraftKings, will be forced to partner with existing casinos for the first 18 months of operation. "Many in the industry were looking to block the two daily fantasy giants from entering the market but compromised with a forced partnership for a limited time.

Sports betting was packaged with a casino expansion plan and the passage of sports betting will also bring a land-based casino to Chicago, as well as adding other casinos throughout the state.

“Thanks to Governor Pritzker’s leadership, and the weekend overtime hours put in by the General Assembly, we are excited by the legislation of sports betting,” said Richard Schwartz, President of Rush Street Interactive, which runs Rivers Casino, in a statement.