After the legislation of sports betting in Illinois in the spring of last year, many punters have been happy that they can finally place their bets locally. However, Illinois seems to be taking its time to have this launched. Unfortunately for many hopeful fans, it won’t even be launch in time for the Super Bowl.

It was in May 2018 when each of the states in the US was allowed to decide on their own with regard to the legislation and regulation of sports betting. This was after New Jersey challenged the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act or PASPA of 1992 to be able to regulate their own sports wagering business. 

The Supreme Court of the United States has then stricken down PASPA and it didn’t take long before states like New Jersey, Delaware, Oregon, and Pennsylvania legalized betting within their territories. Meanwhile, Illinois signed it into law in June of last year.

The legislation of betting in Illinois is part of the massive gaming expansion bill that Governor JB Pritzker signed. It means that Illinois will grant six new casino licenses to new operators and open four more horse racetracks. This could mean as many as 23 Master Sports Betting Licenses. The legal gambling age has also been set at 21 years.

While many states that have already signed it into law only took a month or a few to launch betting after its legislation, Illinois is doing things differently. Many were hoping that Illinois will launch wagering before 2019 ended, but the only thing that happened until December was to start the application process for the operators to acquire licenses. 

It means that Super Bowl fans won’t be able to place local wagers just yet after checking today’s match predictions.

However, it appears that the operators actually waited a month before they begin submitting their applications. They seem to have waited for the state to release more rules regarding how they should operate in the state.

In the last week of January, Illinois did release the Phase 2 of sports betting, wherein a few rules have already been disclosed. The latest rules appear to give priority to the bids that have the most revenue for the state.

The regulations regarding how punters would place bets, what equipment to use, and everything else that covers the basic operations of wagering was included in the Phase 2 release. All of these were approved by the board during its meeting on January 23.

The rules also appear to have considerations of the applicant’s character, commitment to ownership diversity, and training and employing minorities. The applicants should also already have a Tier 2 official league data to be able to acquire a wagering license. With these, the application period is also announced to be open for 120 days. This will start with the application posting on the website of IGB.

The first three casinos that submitted applications for sports wagering licenses were Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, the Grand Victoria in Elgin, and the Argosy in Alton. They submitted their applications after the gaming board released Phase 2 of betting in Illinois.

Currently, the gaming board is already reviewing 10 applications for five of the six new casino licenses. The plan for the sixth casino in Chicago is stalled as lawmakers are reconsidering the proposed 33.3 percent city gambling tax. This may be something that will be prohibitive for the developers.

The South Suburbs has four applicants that are competing to build a casino in the areas of Calumet City, Homewood or East Hazel Crest, Lynwood, or Matteson. What the gaming board has already approved is the change of venue for the Matteson proposal. It will then be located at the former Carson’s department store in the Market Square Crossing redevelopment project.

With how everything is going, it’s really unlikely and even impossible that betting will be ready in time for the Super Bowl.

Representative Mike Zalewski who helped with the legislation of betting in the states that the first three casinos that have filed for the applications have the best chance of being ready for the Final Four. He said that there is a healthy dose of optimism that the people will be able to bet during March Madness. This is a reasonable goal given where the state is on the launch’s timeline.

Zalewski’s exact words were, “I think with the introduction of the second round of rules that were introduced last week … I expect that hopefully, we will be able to place a legal sports bet by March Madness – that’s my aspirational goal. I hope for March Madness but the sooner the better. A lot of work went into this and I’m excited about the opportunity.”