Despite the fact that Illinois has handed out sports betting licenses to seven different casinos, thanks to the state’s Gaming Board rules these licenses really don’t amount to much since each casino needs to still request individual approval in order to start taking wagers.
The prolonged waiting period has led to an increased level of frustration within the Illinois’ sports betting industry as sportsbooks and sports bettors are eager to get under way.
Still Plenty of Red Tape to Cut Through
What seems like a big step forward with sports betting in Illinois, the distribution of licenses to casinos, is actually just a small step due to the fact that there are still hurdles for casinos to legally allow people to place bets. Gaming Board policy director Joe Miller commented on this prolonged process:
“Every licensee is treated independently and there is no set timetable to commence wagering. Requests will be granted once received if the licensees meet all necessary requirements.”
Sports are slowly starting to return and the interest for placing wagers is growing. For those critical of the way the state has gone about things, it is starting to look and feel like a missed opportunity.
The whole “strike while the iron is hot” doesn’t seem to be registering with the state’s Gaming Board, which has proponents and bettors extremely frustrated.
Those in favor of speeding things along also recognize that the state is strapped for cash at the moment and the tax revenue that sports betting could bring in would really help to cushion the blow over the past couple of months.
When the master sports wagering licenses were handed out this week it did result in a one-time payment to the tune of $40 million that the state was able to cash in on, but tax revenues will bring in an on-going income, which will help out greatly.
A Strange Situation Illinois Finds Itself In
What makes the situation all the more frustrating and strange is that casinos have been approved to open up sportsbooks while they are shut down.
However, Illinois gamblers don’t have anywhere they can go to actually place bets on things such as pro golf, NASCAR, MMA and the other sports that have now returned back to the action. The opportunity is there, but there’s no way for people to act on it.
The request for approval applies to bets that are made through mobile applications and bets online, which is where the majority of betting could be taking place right now. In other states, online betting brings in the biggest percentage of handle and revenue.
In what seems like a different time, just three months ago the state’s first legal sports bets were allowed under a temporary operating permit at the Argosy Casino Alton and the Rivers in Des Plaines casino. This took place days before everything was shut down. That first bet was even placed by Blackhawks announcer Eddie Olczyk and was surrounded in all kinds of excitement and hope for the future.
It’s hard to comprehend just how much has changed in three months and how no progress has taken place within Illinois regarding sports betting.
What Happens Next in Illinois
It’s expected that the casinos will move ahead and try to make their mark in the online world. Right now, it’s a more dependable route to focus on and the interest is there. At the same time, casinos are hopeful that they will get the green light to reopen by the end of this month.