Illinois sports bettors may be excited to bet on this weekend’s Super Bowl, but the Illinois Gaming Board has reminded everyone to have fun within their guidelines. Specials and fun props go a little too far, they noted in a meeting last week.
Illinois Gaming Board administrator Marcus Fruchter reminded the public that only bets with “activity directly within the control or jurisdiction of the NFL and/or individuals subject to the NFL integrity policy.” Bets on the length of the national anthem or how many movie ads we’ll see? Not allowed.
Fruchter admitted that these fun specials are good for “the growth and success,” but it’s too early for Illinois bettors to have them. According to him, it’s “imperative that sports wagering be conducted with the highest standards of integrity, and without any appearance or possibility of potential impropriety.”
There’s some logic to his argument, but not when you consider Illinois gamblers could just open up an account with an international sports book to bet on the fun stuff.
Although the regulator is handicapping locally licensed operators by not allowing the action, they’re doing pretty well without it. The sports betting industry has made $1.4 billion in the state since it launched, and month after month their revenues continue to grow. Those numbers could continue to expand rapidly, after Governor J.B. Pritzker loosened online sign-up requirements for land-based sportsbooks in November.
That move allowed 97% of wagers to be placed online in November, with Football alone drawing $253 million in handle. Although the 8-8 Bears won’t be in the game, the American Gaming Association expects up to $4.3 billion to be bet on Sunday’s game, and maybe having a couple of great teams in the contest will inspire Illinoisians to put up a few bucks.