Indiana already had beat Illinois in a race to allow sports wagering at the state’s 10 casinos, and on Thursday, the Hoosier State also beat the Land of Lincoln in launching sports betting online.
Analysts with PlayIndiana.com said the state’s sports betting operations could be the largest in the U.S., generating billions in bets and millions in tax revenue for Indiana.
Illinois’ sports betting isn’t ready yet. Illinois state Sen. Dave Syverson said was disappointed at Illinois’ slow rollout of legislation passed this spring.
“The end result is we’re falling behind other states,” Syverson said. “We don’t have the expanded video gaming going. We don’t have sports betting up and going. And we’re falling behind. We’re losing revenue that we’ll never get back and it’s disappointing.”
Even when Illinois eventually launches it’s sports betting, PlayIndiana.com writer Dustin Gouker says Indiana’s policies may trump Illinois’ industry.
“[Indiana] kept the fees for getting into sports betting kind of low, the taxes kind of low, and then in Illinois, they actually have made it a little harder to get into the market [with] really high fees, really high taxes,” Gouker said.
Syverson said Indiana’s online sports wagering will be geofenced, meaning Illinois residents won’t be able to bet in Indiana unless they cross the state line.
“You can only do sports betting in the state that you are physically in,” Syverson said. “So that gives [Illinois] a little protection.”
Geofencing technology uses cell phone towers and other mobile device connection information to ensure a player’s activity is happening inside a certain jurisdiction, such as the state of Indiana.
Gouker said Illinoisans close to the border can easily hop over to Indiana to place a bet on their mobile phone, and while they’re there they can also maybe take in a meal, do some shopping or just fill up the gas tank.
“Try to kill two birds with one stone, right,” Gouker said. “I think there’s going to be more than just people driving there and driving back. How much of that economic activity, I’m not sure. But some amount, for sure.”
Syverson said Illinois’ slow roll of expanded gambling legislation meant tax revenue going to other states.
A comment period for Illinois’ sports betting rules is set to close Sept. 27. It’s unclear when the industry will be able to launch after the comment period expires.
A version of this story appeared in the Friday digital edition of the Daily Journal.