Will Illinois and Indiana Have Sports Betting in Time for Football Season?

Elana K. - August 12, 2019

The original start date of Illinois sports betting was meant to be September 1, but that goal is far from reality. There's a little more hope for Indiana, but it seems like the final decision will be left to individual casinos.

Illinois approved a sports betting bill in June, but nearly two months in and the state has yet to draft rules and regulations regarding applications, oversight procedures, and more. The original start date was meant to be September 1, since the NFL season kicks off on September 5, but that goal is far from reality.

In fact, a timeline hasn’t even been set yet. Marcus Fruchter, gaming board administrator, said that a delay is only natural when dealing “with a lot of moving parts.”

In 2009, former governor Pat Quinn signed a bill allowing for video gaming in the state — and it took three years to launch. While it’s not anticipated for sports betting to take that long, if history is any indicator, Illinois is not a fast-acting state when it comes to gambling expansion.

Fruchter commented, “We’re following a process, and we’re going through and making sure we have the right approach for the state, which deserves integrity and adequate safeguards. Process is very important — making sure that it’s independent and transparent.”

Some Hope for Indiana

It’s not yet clear whether Indiana casinos will be open or sports betting come September 1. While Indiana passed a bill to legalize sports betting in May, it’s been a slow start. Earlier this month, the Indiana Gaming Commission held a series of sports wagering stakeholder meetings; in the last one, launch dates were discussed.

IGC executive director Sara Gonso Tait said that the launch date is in the hands of the individual casinos. And as of now, “it’s too early to tell when that will be,” she said. “There’s a checklist of items that need to be done before launch, and the timing is dictated on the operators getting us that required information.”

One aspect that definitely won't be ready by football season is mobile betting. While there's no restriction on when Indiana mobile betting can launch, operators have a lot more work to do since it requires geolocation and internal controls. A tentative start date of mid-October has been discussed. 

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