Illinois State Legislature Passes Bill Legalizing Sports Gambling

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 2, 2019

Ryan Martin, right, looks over his wager as he joins in with the first group of patrons to Rivers Casino to bet on sports as the new, temporary sports betting area opens on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, in Pittsburgh. Pending Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approval, regular operations are scheduled to begin Saturday, Dec. 15. Marton made several wagers, including placing a $100 bet on the Pittsburgh Steelers to win the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Illinois will likely become the latest state to legalize sports gambling.

According to David Purdum of ESPN, the Illinois legislature passed a broad funding bill Sunday, which will allow betting online as well as in casinos and racetracks.

"Today is the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work, determination and teamwork behind a vision for entertainment and economic opportunity in Illinois," state Rep. Mike Zalewski said in a statement.

Governor JB Pritzker is expected to sign the bill later this month.

The legislation forbids betting on Illinois college teams, which has become a common practice among states legalizing the activity. According to Ryan Rodenberg of ESPN.com, eight states have full-scale legalized betting while several others have already passed legislation.

Meanwhile, the latest bill in Illinois could offer a unique opportunity with gambling available at professional stadiums like Wrigley Field and Soldier Field.

Facilities with more than 17,000 seats can apply for a master sports wagering license, which costs $10 million and lasts four years.

According to the Associated Press (via WGN9), the state is hoping to generate $700 million in the first year from just licensing fees and tax revenue.