Illinois becomes the 15th state to legalize sports betting

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Monday the 9th of March marked Illinois becoming the 15th state in the Union where sports betting is completely legal. While licenses will by no means be cheap, it will be possible for any legal entity that operates in this industry to do so from inside the state.

Both private stakeholders and state representatives agree that this will bring new revenue to Illinois, which has seen some economic improvement in the last few years. Opponents of the new regulation point out that sports betting can have negative influences on the poorest members of the community, but accept that it will not be more than it was already possible through online betting.

Awaiting March Madness, the state’s Gaming Board has already approved several sportsbook propositions that will be available both in Chicago and across the state. Additionally, it will be possible for residents of surrounding states to place their bets in Illinois online.

It became obvious that sports betting, as well as online bets, have become big business. While it brings some risks, more options also bring benefits to consumers. Online casinos now even offer a 200 percent deposit bonus in points, basically tripling your money on your signup.

What will Change for Domestic Betters?

As there won’t be any possibility to obtain online licenses before the 3rd quarter of 2021, it is doubtful that domestic betters will see any improvements apart from the ability to bet in in-state casinos.

Additionally, it is possible that these license holders will affiliate with domestic sports-bars to allow on-site betting. But, it is not yet clear if this would be legal under the current legislation.

In time, this change will probably see a rise in both physical and online betting platforms based in Illinois. The increase in competition will spell new privileges for those enjoying the games, as companies will fight for a piece of the lucrative market.

Legislation so Far

There are currently only five license holders in Illinois that have temporary permits:

  • Boyd’s Par-A-Dice
  • Penn National’s Argosy
  • Fairmount Park
  • Eldorado Resorts’ Grand Victoria 
  • Rivers Casino

All of these locations have applied sportsbooks for the upcoming March Madness and will contribute to roughly $8.5 billion estimated to be placed in bets.

With the new college basketball season being one of the least predictable ones in the last few years, it is possible for many fans to even win some money by supporting their home team. Those supporting the Illinois Fighting Illini will have the privilege to support their domestic college team by betting in local facilities.

But, those who will be unable to attend will still have the opportunity to place their bets online and watch the games on their TV as all have been acquired for either TV or online streaming.

Online Licenses

Obtaining an online license is still impossible and there is no timeframe proposed for Illinois to allow online sports betting. Also, as of today, no platforms or operators have applied for the license.

Additionally, it is unlikely that any local company will gain a permit for mobile-based betting. The earliest date for mobile platforms is 18 months after retail sports betting starts, which will be in September 2021.

Thankfully, this does mean that online betters in the State will have this option before the start of the NFL season next year. But, would this show any benefits to the consumers themselves is yet to be seen as there shouldn’t be much difference between local providers and those across the Nation.

Standalone Licenses

The state government and the Gaming Board have placed a steep price on a standalone license, making it disputable if there will be any minor or new players on the market in the next few years.

The price of the license is fixed at $20 million each, placing it out of reach for most betting startups. This may dissuade some investors from opening a new company in Illinois but can become a draw-in for some larger competitors that have already established themselves.

For consumers, this might not be a bad thing, as established companies have already proven to be careful when it comes to bad practices. There are checks and balances in place to prevent the system from exploiting players with addiction tendencies, or underage persons, of gambling against their good interest.

Digital Casinos

For most players, digital is the way to go, as online casinos and betting platforms usually offer more than any physical venue can give you. Due to lower overheads, online operators can offer greater diversity and better odds for their players.

Giving a 200% deposit bonus for signing up can save quite a bit of your budget meant for gambling and gaming. This applies both for sports betting and online games and can offset some of the more emotional bets we tend to make.

Some platforms will go very high with this bonus, even giving up to 2000 Euros (~$2260) to new players.

Virginia Might Follow Suit

There are currently eight states that offer both retail and online sports betting and six, including Illinois, which allow for retail only. But this has a tendency to change as more states realize that fighting against online gaming has proven detrimental for local budgets.

The bills are currently in deliberation in Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan, and Colorado to allow for some type of in-state sports betting.

Additionally, places like Virginia have been pushing forward bills to allow limited retail and online gaming permits in their state. The new Senate Bill 36 will allow for one casino to be built in five cities, opening the door to local players.

Opportunity to Play Smart

While there is a risk of widespread legalized gambling means that we need to inform our children about the dangers they might encounter, it also allows for more opportunity to play smart and see wagers as something fun, rather than a scheme to make a quick buck.

Bonuses, hedges, and system-wagers create an opportunity to keep the thrill of winning or losing, but without opening yourself to so much risk. While in the end, the house will always profit more than the players, you will be able to draw much more enjoyment from the same amount of money, making it all worthwhile.

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