Illinois passed a massive gambling expansion bill back in June of last year that included legalizing sports betting. Since then, little progress has been made in the state to get legal sports betting up and running. Now, according to a statement obtained by 13 WREX from Governor JB Pritzker’s press secretary, Jordan Abudayyeh, legal sports betting will launch in Illinois in time for the start of March Madness
“The Governor is pleased that Illinois sportsbooks will open for business by March Madness, generating revenue to rebuild universities, hospitals and other facilities across the state,” Abudayyeh said.
While the state of Illinois took its time to put official rules in place and approve licensing, neighboring Iowa and Indiana launched legal sports betting months ago. Now Illinois is behind the game but it is better late than never in the Prairie State. Sports betting will be legal at both brick-and-mortar locations and online. However, online only operators like FanDuel and DraftKings won’t be able to go live until 18 months after the initial launch of sports betting.
So far, three casinos in Illinois have been issued temporary sports betting operating permits that will allow them to go live before the start of March Madness. Those three casinos are the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin and Argosy Casino in Alton.
While Illinois sports bettors should be thrilled to have sports betting available in time for the second biggest sports betting event of the year, behind the Super Bowl, bettors won’t be able to get any legal action on teams from the state of Illinois. The legal betting age in Illinois is 21-years old.
No official launch date has been set for when sports betting will go live in Illinois, but the first game of the March Madness tournament is Tuesday, March 17th.