Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has rubber stamped a $45bn ‘Rebuild Illinois’ action plan, that is to give the state undergo a significant gaming expansion as well as see sports wagering get its introduction.
Lauded as “the most robust capital plan in Illinois history” it’s estimated that 540,000 new jobs are to be created, with the investment also to see improvements in roads, bridges, railways, universities, early childhood centres and state facilities.
The Rebuild Illinois package brings together four bills, with Pritzker explaining: “With this historic $45 billion capital plan, we’re fixing decades-long problems, creating good jobs, improving communities for the next generation – and doing it together, across party lines.
“The Rebuild Illinois plan transforms our state’s approach to transportation infrastructure, finally treating our roads, bridges, and railways like 21st century investments and not relics of the past.
“We’re also making critical investments in our higher education institutions, our crime lab and veterans’ homes, early childhood centres, and expanding broadband access to communities across Illinois.
“With these investments, we’re creating and supporting hundreds of thousands of new jobs in our state. This is more than an infrastructure plan. This is a job creation plan the likes of which our state has never seen.”
Bill SB 690, related to the expansion of gaming, authorises the development of six new land-based casinos in Waukegan, Rockford, the South Suburbs, Williamson County, Danville and Chicago, which currently has no such facility, with slots also to be added at the Midway and O’Hare Airports.
Becoming the latest state to join the US’ sports betting scene, legalisation sees all casinos, racetracks and sports venues that hold 17,000 people or more permitted to pursue a licence to operate a brick-and-mortar sportsbook.
Expected to deliver an estimated $58m-102m annually, which will be dedicated to infrastructure projects across the state, including universities, affordable housing and hospitals, all licensees will be allowed to go online immediately upon being licensed by the Illinois Gaming Board.
For the first 18 months after the first licensee is operating, all accounts must be set up at a licensed gaming facility, and within 540 days of the first license being awarded, the regulator can accept applications for one of three online sports wagering operator licenses, which would command a $20m fee and be renewable after four years for a further $1m.
A 15 per cent tax rate on gross wagering per month is to be issued, with official league data permitted but betting on Illinois college teams is strictly forbidden.