Illinois Senate approves sports betting bill

By Tim Poole

A bill legalising sports betting has been approved by the Senate in Illinois, with Governor J. B. Pritzker expected to sign the bill into law.

The news follows Tennessee's legalisation of sports betting in similar circumstances last week, although Louisiana recently chose not to proceed following one too many amendments.

Among the controversial clauses within Illinois’ sports wagering bill is a $10m license fee and a legal requirement to purchase official betting data from sports leagues.

However, the most standout aspect of the bill is a mandate that DraftKings, FanDuel or any other online-only operator cannot launch its own brand within the Prairie State for 18 months.

Even if such a firm partners with a land-based casino, it cannot use its own branding, although the 18-month period for this was reduced from the three years initially proposed.

Rivers Des Plaines Casino has been accused of not wanting to compete on a level playing field with DraftKings and FanDuel, with the operators' $1m advertising campaign failing to remove the bad-actor clause.

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said on Twitter: "While it is good to see sports betting bills passed, excluding DraftKings and FanDuel is like passing a ride sharing bill that excludes Uber and Lyft. Very disappointing Illinois customers will not have the best options available to them for 18 months."

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