In May 2018, The Supreme Court of the United States handed down a verdict which permitted states other than Nevada to legalize sports betting and gambling. Since this opinion has come out, many states have introduced proposed legislation to legalize sports gambling within their borders. In 2019, Illinois joined states like Kentucky and Missouri in considering legislation that would legalize sports gambling.  In June 2019, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the bill legalizing sports, making Illinois the fifth state this year, and the largest by population measures, to officially legalize sports gambling.  The new law will allow for state-wide mobile sports betting and physical sportsbooks at Illinois professional stadiums. The goal was to launch sports betting around the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020.


Although the bill has been passed, sports betting has yet to be launched in Illinois. The state is continuing to work out the sports betting framework that will operate in Illinois and is seeking for licensed sportsbooks to launch in early 2020, just in time for Superbowl LIV.  The American Gaming Association has commented that it is critical that the Illinois sports teams and other new participants in the gaming business follow the lead of the previously established state licensed gaming operators in advancing responsible gaming practices that ensure protections for consumers, bets, and the overall integrity of the games.  The bill also includes a suggestive mandate requiring the use of “official league data.” “Official league data” includes information such as what the current score is, how much time is on the clock, and who has the ball.  This data is supposed to be provided by the league directly instead of sports commentators or other data sources.  Additionally, the law bars the fantasy league operators DraftKings and FanDuel from operating in the state for three years. Lawmakers included this provision as a punishment for the companies operating their daily fantasy sports businesses illegally in Illinois prior to the bill’s approval.


Proponents of the new law claim that the legalization of sports betting in Illinois will produce a vast amount of revenue for the state. In response to the bill’s proposal, the Illinois Economic Policy Institute drafted a report detailing how the legalization could affect the economy within Illinois.  The report, which was released prior to the bill being approved, suggests that sports betting would generate a large amount of revenue for the state. The report specifically detailed that a balanced sports betting legalization framework would have the following positive effect on the Illinois economy:

  • increase gaming industry revenues by $565 million annually;
  • create more than 2,500 new jobs at nearly 90 licensed locations in Illinois;
  • shrink the illegal black market for sports betting;
  • enhance state tax revenues by $100 million annually; and
  • fund programs that treat gambling addiction and fund public investments in education and infrastructure.

These figures and projections for Illinois were formed by comparing the revenues of other states that enacted similar bills before Illinois, and adjusting them to fit Illinois’ larger population. The report also warned that if the framework was not carefully drafted and laid out to cover any possible loopholes that may exist in the legislation, that these speculative benefits would be much less than reported above. This is because the black market of sports betting could flourish under new and relaxed standards of public betting.

While many legislators and citizens are excited about the bill’s passage, only time will tell if the expected results and income are more than just a bet.

If you have questions, contact Sherer Law Offices  at (618) 692-6656 for more information.

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