This New Illinois Sports Betting Bill Is A Real Doozy

Written By Matthew Kredell on May 24, 2019
IL sports betting

Illinois is going to consider a sports betting bill unlike any other in the country.

Legal Sports Report obtained a copy of the amendment Rep. Mike Zalewski is proposing in the House, and it’s a doozy.

Zalewski’s attempt to legalize IL sports betting began with five impractical amendments, none of which garnered support. The expectation was that the rough edges would be softened, the fees worked out with stakeholders, and the best parts of each selected to form a workable bill.

Instead, the proposed fees increased, and the parameters for who can participate — and how they can do so — became much more complicated in this final proposal.

Blackout period replaces penalty box

Earlier this week, Zalewski told LSR that a so-called “penalty box” aimed at DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook for allegedly offering illegal fantasy sports was the last issue to work out.

A previous amendment from the semifinal round would have excluded both from the market for three years. In response, DraftKings and FanDuel threatened a legal challenge and launched a public ad campaign against proponents of the penalty box.

Now, Zalewski is attempting to negate the issue by putting the entire internet in the box.

Under his new amendment, no operator could offer sports betting online or through a mobile application for 540 days after the effective date.

IL sports betting operators and fees

One positive about the language is that it’s very inclusive of all gaming stakeholders in the state — if they are willing to pay for the privilege.

The amendment would authorize sports betting via:

  • Casinos, racetracks, OTBs: 26 licenses; $5 million or 5% of adjusted gross receipts
  • Online-only operators: Two licenses; $25 million apiece
  • Sports facilities: Seven licenses; $10 million apiece
  • Lottery retailers: 2,500 locations (parlay only); $20 million for central provider

Incidentally, a licensed sports facility would only be allowed to conduct sports wagering within a five-block radius of the facility. All licenses would be valid for five years and renewable for $1 million thereafter.

Delayed official data mandate

The first batch of amendments in Illinois included a league amendment with a 0.25% royalty on handle.

The second set of amendments would have lowered the royalty to 0.2% but required the use of official league data for in-play wagers.

This final amendment does not include an integrity fee, and it adds a 540-day delay before licensees must use official data for in-play wagers.

More from IL sports betting amendment

Here are some other key elements within the 89-page amendment:

  • Each master sports wagering licensee is limited to one skin to provide sports wagering online.
  • There is a sports wagering skin license fee of $5 million, renewable every five years for $1 million.
  • Other than the lottery, all sports betting operators pay a 20% tax on adjusted gross receipts.
  • There is no betting allowed on Illinois collegiate teams.
  • The lottery sports wagering pilot program runs through 2023, after which the agency would need further legislative approval to continue.
Illinois sports betting bill
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Matthew Kredell

Matthew started his career as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News, where he covered the NFL, Kobe-Shaq three-peat, Pete Carroll’s USC football teams, USC basketball, pro tennis, Kings hockey and fulfilled his childhood dream of sitting in the Dodgers’ dugout. His reporting on efforts to legalize sports betting began in 2010, when Playboy Magazine flew him to Prague to hang out with Calvin Ayre and show how the NFL was pushing US money overseas by fighting expansion of regulated sports betting across the country. A USC journalism alum, Matt also has written on a variety of topics for Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and

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