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Ostrowski: Addressing Some Legalized Sports Gambling FAQs

When will you be able to legally wager on sports in Illinois?

Joe Ostrowski
May 16, 2018 - 5:15 pm

By Joe Ostrowski--

(670 The Score) Since the Supreme Court's historic ruling Monday paved the path for states to legalize sports gambling, there's been so many questions and only a few significant answers. So let's tackle some of the main points.

When can I legally bet on sports?

This is what so many want to know, but it remains uncertain in Illinois.

"My guess is if I had to bet, no pun intended, probably over the course of the next year there’s a good chance we will see some type of sports betting legalized in the state of Illinois," Illinois Senate member and and gaming committee chairman Steve Stadelman told the McNeil & Parkins Show.

Of course, you can never really predict politics in this state.

How much money would sports betting generate for the state of Illinois?

Stadelman weighed in on this topic on 670 The Score as well.

"My guess and what we’ve heard the experts say is it could be anywhere from $50 (million) to $100 million in state revenue," he said. "That’s just a guesstimate."

Fellow Illinois Senate member Napoleon Harris introduced the Sports Wagering Act and also joined 670 on the Mully & Hanley Show. He believed the financial ramifications to be even greater.

"In the state of Illinois, some of the lower estimates have said $100 to $200 million annually," Harris said. "I like to think it’s closer to a half of a billion dollars."

Gaming analyst Chris Grove testified before the Senate gaming committee that sports wagering in Illinois would generate more than $300 million at casinos and racetracks annually. That number would more than double to as much as $700 million if it were available online.

So we’re looking at a wide range of estimates. The American Gaming Association estimates that Americans wager $150 billion illegally on sports each year.

How will states legalizing sports wagering affect Las Vegas?

Sports betting is clearly a smaller piece of the pie in Las Vegas. This also proves that even if you can legally place a wager on sporting events at home, that doesn’t mean it would affect Sin City in a negative way. Not to mention the Vegas glitz, energy and experience.

That's a small sample size, but it may not be that far off from reality. If there are more Illinois sports fans willing to place a legal bet, there’s an increased chance that they will visit Vegas for March Madness or an NFL weekend, then stay for other entertainment and catch a Golden Knights or Raiders game. The intimidation factor that exists would be gone.

The questions and possibilities are endless. For right now, it’s OK to say "I don't know."

Joe Ostrowski co-hosts Hit & Run with Barry Rozner on Sundays at 9 a.m. and is 670 The Score's weekday morning update anchor. Here's a link to his weekly sports betting podcast. Follow him on Twitter @JoeO670.​