What Is Wrong With Illinois?

Lawmakers in Illinois have been quoted as stating they support and look forward to having legalized sports betting in the state. After reading some of the proposals from Rep. Mike Zalewski many were left questioning the Rep's actual commitment to bringing sports betting to Illinois. 

Well, after a lot of legal maneuvering it appears Zalewski's proposal is heading for the house. The bill is full of questionable decisions and in my opinion, wreaks of politics and greed. Really had hope for Illinois's initial release as it seemed as if it would be inclusive of most types of wagering but upon further review, you can tell it was written by politicians.  

The Last Workout

The last piece that Zalewski said remained to be worked out was a "penalty box" of sorts that was to be imposed on Draftkings and Fanduel. Previous amendments would have excluded both companies from offering betting in Illinois for three years after inception. 

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This was initially viewed as a penalty of sorts for the online fantasy titans for acting outside of the law by offering illegal sports wagering (online daily fantasy) in previous years. Draftkings and Fanduel did not take this proposal lying down with threats of legal action and launching a public ad campaign against "the penalty box". 

Zalewski has now taken the target from just being on Draftkings and Fanduel and instead proposed no operator being able to offer sports betting online or through mobile for 540 days from effective date. While encompassing everyone this is clearly another attempt to keep as much of Illinois in-house with current casino operators and keep outside companies like DK and Fanduel on the outside looking in. 

License Costs

While the bill is very inclusive for those wanting to offer sports wagering the costs is not going to be easy to stomach for many. Again, trying to keep things local with local casinos and racetracks having a fee of $5 million dollars or 5% of adjusted gross receipts. Sports facilities have a license fee of $10 million while Online-only operators have a massive two license fee with each license costing $25 million dollars. A license will be valid for 5 years at which time it would need to renew for another $1 million dollars. This represents another example of the big costs associated with running a book just to pay a huge tax as well. 

Integrity Fee

At least this is one they appear to have gotten correct.  Initial bills indicated a .25% fee on the handle to be paid to the leagues. After some back and forth this current piece does not include any integrity fee and adds a 540 day grace period before official data has to be used for in play wagering. 

Few Random Points and Thought

Each licensee is limited to one skin to provide sports wagering online. I actually like this as it is a little annoying that the same company tries to present itself as multiple different companies to market you the same thing. 

There is also a sports wagering skin license fee of $5 million that requires a renewal every 5 years for $1 million dollars. Of course, there is another fee, I'm sure some of these upfront fees will result in a lower tax rate so the end consumer can get a decent product. 

Betting Like a Pro Means Thinking Like One First

Sports betting operators (except state-run lottery) pay a 20% tax on adjusted gross receipts. Wait, you mean they have huge fees up front and want to charge the highest tax among states currently offering. They never seem to realize they will not just pick up every offshore player simply by having an offering. Offshore sportsbooks at least generally have a competitive product to offer. State greed is going to mean more costs handed down to the consumer. For comparison, the tax In Nevada is currently 6.5%.

No betting allowed on Illinois collegiate sports. They can't seem to grasp that everyone that wanted to bet has already been betting on Illinois collegiate teams (no matter how bad the Illini have been). These laws are not doing anyone any favors in helping to protect the players. Go ahead and make the games encompass all sports.

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