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Illinois Gaming Board releases more sports betting rules, still no launch date

SPRINGFIELD (HOI) -- The Illinois Gaming Board announced they finished drafting the rules for sports betting Thursday, but did not give a launch date.

“Once applications are submitted, vetted, and approved, an applicant may receive a temporary operating permit and could then begin accepting wagers as soon as they are ready to do so," IGB administrator Marcus Fruchter said in a news release.

IGB's director of policy and special projects, Joe Miller, says they have received one application for a sports betting license, but would not say which company applied for it. He also declined to estimate when the application will be approved or rejected.

IGB released a 66-page document of rules Thursday they are calling phase 2. It spells out procedures for how bets should to be handled and paid out, and reiterates some rules that were part of the law Gov. JB Pritzker (D, Illinois) signed in June. Phase 1, released in December, largely dealt with infrastructure and financial ground rules.

"Today’s release of phase 2 sports wagering rules is a continuation of [our] deliberate and thoughtful process, which will allow sports wagering to commence expeditiously and ethically across the State," Fruchter said.

Among the rules are a ban on minor league sports wagers, any college game involving Illinois teams, youth sports, and gambling on behalf of people who are not allowed to place a bet themselves.

There could be more tweaks to come, but Miller says, "additional phases of rules will enhance phase 1 and 2 but do not prevent sport wagering from beginning."

Sports betting has never had an official target launch date, but Rep. Mark Zalewski (D, Riverside), who helped write the law, has said on Twitter he hoped it could be up and running by the NCAA Tournament in March.

Thursday, Rep. Zalewski tweeted a link to the Gaming Board's rules with a YouTube video of the iconic "One Shining Moment" compilation video from last year's tournament.

Under the law, existing casino, off-track betting, and video gaming companies can apply for a license to offer sports betting at their facility. They can also offer online betting, but customers would have to register in person before placing bets on their phone. Companies that offer online betting without a physical footprint in the state will not be allowed to take bets in Illinois until 2021.

Boyd Gaming CEO Keith Smith confirmed this month that Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria will apply for a sports betting license. There's no word on if Hawthorne is seeking to add a sports book to their clubs in Peoria and Normal.

The Illinois Gaming Board is scheduled to meet January 30 in Chicago.

Bobby Oler @bobbyoler

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