Viva Las Chicago

To catch you up, here’s the latest little summarization per the Chicago Tribune:

What exactly did the state House and Senate pass?

The legislature sent Gov. J.B. Pritzker a bill he’s expected to sign that will dramatically expand legal gambling in Illinois. Existing gambling venues get more gaming positions that can be dedicated to either slots or table games. The bill allows slot machines at O’Hare and Midway, as well as horse racing tracks. It adds casinos in communities around the state, such as Waukegan and Rockford. It clears the way for a mega-casino in Chicago with 4,000 gaming positions. And it legalizes sports betting.

When can I place a legal bet?

It’s not clear how quickly this will take to implement once Pritzker signs it into law. Some say there could be lawful sports betting in Illinois in time for the beginning of football season. Others believe that is overly optimistic.

Where will I be able to place a legal bet?

Casinos and racetracks are eligible for sports betting licenses. The bill also allows a company that sells lottery tickets to get a license to take parlay bets at a limited number of locations. Eligible to open sports books, too, are seven Illinois sports venues with capacities of 17,000 or more. That includes six in the Chicago area: Wrigley Field, Guaranteed Rate Field, Soldier Field, the United Center, the Fire’s stadium and Joliet Speedway. Sports betting licenses would range from $3.2 million to $20 million and be offered to both brick-and-mortar facilities and to online operators, with taxes of 15 percent.

Most of the legislature passed, legal gambling and cannabis, has to do with pulling the state of Illinois out of a financial hole and help fund their Rebuild Illinois capital plan which will be over $45 billion. Lots of opportunities for states to get themself out of the hole. I do wonder if more or less people will continue to use their bookies, considering you don’t have to worry about the tax implication, albeit shadiness. And how much will it effect the small mom & pop businesses that have video slots currently, and the stand alone shops like Dotty’s or Betty’s…whatever they are, there’s a ton. There’s still a lot of time for all this to play out now. Between licenses, building casinos, hiring, marketing, increased tourism for gambling and cannabis, and Chicago being the best city in the nation. We’ll see how all of this plays out and we’ll revisit this topic in the future.

-JC