The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) expects to make sports betting applications for casinos, horse racetracks, and professional sports arenas and fields available late this month. However, the regulatory agency hasn’t set a fixed timeline for when the first bet will be placed in the Prairie State. When the state finally gets it up and running, the Land of Lincoln could be one of the sports wagering hubs of the US.
According to Global Market Advisors, the annual handle in Illinois is expected to range from $2.8 billion to $5.2 billion by 2020. At the high end of that range, the Prairie State would likely only trail Nevada in terms of the yearly handle.
The plan to bring an integrated resort to Chicago is facing a lot of challenges, the major one being the license fee. According to casino.org, the Sports betting is already a low-margin business, but the IGB is requesting a whopping $10 million payment for each license.
That figure would apply to casinos, racetracks, and arenas that want a sports betting permit.
Windy City’s five professional franchises – have been active in working with Prairie State lawmakers on the sports betting issue. The teams have expressed concern not only about the expensive licensing fee, but also verbiage in the gaming legislation that could allow for retail sportsbooks to be located within just a few blocks of Wrigley Field, Soldier Field, United Center, and Guaranteed Rate Field.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the firm projects Illinois sportsbooks to hold between $168 and $338 million in revenue. Even if the low end, $2.8 billion, of the aforementioned Global Market Advisors study materializes, Illinois’ handle would only trail California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Nevada. That’s assuming that the first three even legalize sports betting, which those states haven’t yet done.