Pro’s & Con’s of Legalized Sports Betting in IL

Legalized Sports Betting

Sports Wagering Board in Las Vegas


It is estimated that somewhere between $150 – $300 billion is illegally bet on sports each year. There is small wonder that states are looking to legalize sports betting. On Sunday, June 2nd, 2019, Illinois passed bill SB690, which will legalize sports betting in the State of Illinois. Below are some pro’s & con’s of legalized sports betting for Illinois.


1.) Tax Revenue – This is the number one reason why the bill was passed—to generate tax revenue. So exactly how much revenue will sports betting generate? Well, that is anyone’s guess, but definitely, more than $0 (nada) which is the current amount being generated from sports betting.

2.) Additional revenue for establishments that hold gaming licenses – If you think legalized sports betting is going to generate the majority of revenue from people making and losing  $500 or $1,000 bets, you are mistaken. However, if done correctly licensed gambling establishments will serve as destinations to watch the games. These establishments will also likely sell food and alcohol, which will create additional revenue for them and taxes for the state.

3.) Giving people a choice Giving people a choice is good. If you think about it, not legalizing sports betting a long time ago was silly. Having Las Vegas as the only place to place a legal sports bet was pretty ridiculous.


1.) It won’t create as much revenue as Illinois hopes for and expects – The majority of sports bettors will continue to bet offshore or with an illegal bookie. The convenience of a legal sports bet will not trump the benefits of the anonymity and no taxes that are available with illegal betting. Additionally, bookies give credit to their customers, which is a huge advantage in keeping their customers.

2.) There are a lot of pitfalls with sports betting – Have you heard the story of the guy who bet a few games on Sunday morning and ended up down $750 by Tuesday morning? It goes something like this:
A $50 per game player

1-4 noon games – $170 (that 10% juice is nasty)
Double down on the 3:00 p.m. games 0 -1 (-$165)
Purchase touts pick (bad idea – see #3) – $85
Monday night chaser special -$330

Weekly loss – $750  That is a big loss for a single week!

3.) Have you heard of a tout? A tout is a person that preys on losing gamblers and sells hope. They “tout” themselves as an 80% or higher sports picker with the hopes of getting desperate gamblers to pay for their picks. For example, if the Bears are playing the Packers, a tout will declare he has “his game of the year” or ” lock of the week,” etc. He/she will then sell the pick for $50, $100, or even $500. Once the pick is purchased, the tout will give out the Bears to half the bettors and the Packers to the other half. He/she is guaranteed to have a 50% repeat business. Pretty sleazy, eh?


So will legalized sports betting be a net pro or con for the State of Illinois? It is really a hard call, but I am going to go with a net positive. Illinoisans will be able to choose to put down some cash to make games more interesting, and the state will collect some revenue. Will you make a legalized sports bet in Illinois when the books finally open?


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