Indiana to launch sport betting in time for NFL season; Illinois plans still in the works

Craig Wall Image
Monday, August 19, 2019
Indiana to launch sport betting in time for NFL season
The NFL and college football seasons are just about to get underway and two nearby states are ready to cash in on sports betting.

The NFL and college football seasons are just about to get underway, but Illinois won't be able to take advantage of the sports betting market that was legalized earlier this summer by the legislature.

While Illinois is excluded for now, two neighboring states are ready to cash in.

Iowa has already launched online betting and Indiana is poised to be up and running in early September. For Illinois, the gaming board is still working on the rules for how it will work in the state and all bets are off as to when that will be done.

The Bears and Packers will kick off the NFL season on Thursday September 5th, and the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana, plans to open "The Book" just in time for the kickoff.

The 5,000 square foot sport betting facility is still under construction, but renderings show what it will look like with six betting counters, a wall full of TV's and a lounging area.

"Remember Indiana also started before we did. They passed their bill before we did, so I'm not really worried about them getting up and going weeks or maybe a couple of months before we can get it going," said Gov. JB Pritzker.

The Gaming industry estimates that Americans illegally wager $150 billion on sports every year and another $5 billion legally. So, while the Illinois Gaming Board scrambles to draft the rules, Illinois stands to lose out to neighboring states in a gamble the Governor is willing to take.

"What's important to me is we get it right, that we do it right, that there's integrity in the process," Governor Pritzker said.

Also still not in the cards is a compromise that would clear the way for a casino in Chicago. A recent study showed that the 72 percent tax rate was too onerous for investors to make enough money.

Pritzker was asked if Chicago needs to be willing to take a smaller cut?

"I think everybody's got to take a look at this to make sure. Remembered there's a common interest here in making sure that we get this right and so I think everybody is going to be reasonable and rational in order to get there," he responded.

There have been some initial conversations between lawmakers, the mayor's and governor's offices, but nothing substantial. It's possible this could be addressed in the fall legislative veto session.