Illinois Gaming Board Begins Sports Betting Licensing Process

  • License options include master sports betting, suppliers, and management service providers
  • Sports betting operation rules to be drafted now by the Illinois Gaming Board
  • Official start date has yet to be announced, but expected to be sometime in 2020
Illinois State Capital Building in Springfield
The Illinois Gaming Board has released applications for casinos, racetracks, and pro sports stadiums that want to open sportsbooks in the state. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Emergency sports betting rules

The first phase of sports betting licensing in Illinois has begun. The Illinois Gaming Board issued emergency sports betting rules this week, allowing the licensing process to begin in several categories.

official start date has yet to be confirmed, but it is expected to be sometime in 2020

Casinos, racetracks, and large stadiums that want to open sportsbooks can now file their applications. An official start date has yet to be confirmed, but it is expected to be sometime in 2020.

Rules have also been released outlining the criteria for eligibility. Fees for operators in each sector have also been confirmed.

Details of the rules

The Illinois Gaming Board has approved several licensing options. Master sports betting licensing, management service providers, suppliers, occupational, and official league data supplier licenses are available.

Master license fees will be 5% of the sports betting handle for the calendar year. The license will cost a minimum of $2.3m, with a cap of $10m in place. Racetracks that apply for a master license will pay 5% of the calendar year handle or $5m, whichever is greater. Regulators have capped the online sports betting license at $20m, but the emergency rules do not cover this sector.

The gaming regulator has the ability to issue a temporary operating permit in situations where gaming integrity or public safety will not be compromised.

According to Marcus Fruchter, the Illinois Gaming Board administrator, the release of applications and phase 1 rules is a significant step in the process that began earlier in the year by Governor Pritzker and the General Assembly, which was the ethical and transparent implementation of sports betting for the state.

Following a comment period

The emergency sports betting rules release comes after a 30-day comment period took place in the state. A short window of time from August to September allowed stakeholders to suggest changes.

According to Fruchter, the Illinois Gaming Board used the comment period responses to inform the rules as well as derive best practices from states that already offer sports betting. Fruchter said this would

develop a regulatory framework and implementation process that are right for Illinois.”

With the emergency rules in place, the Illinois Gaming Board staff will now draft the rules necessary for sports betting operations. Regulators should release these rules early next year.

2020 start date?

As the process continues, it is expected that sports betting services will start in 2020. As reported on VSO News, Illinois announced back in November that the process would begin on December 19. Regulators seem to be on track to get things done in order to begin the new industry based on their timeline.

Sports betting became a reality in Illinois after an approved gambling expansion bill. Casinos, racetracks, and lottery vendors can apply for a license. FanDuel and DraftKings must wait 18 months after sportsbooks open in the state before applying for mobile licensing.