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West Central Reporter

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

New Illinois sports gambling rule could lead to illegal online gambling

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By Elle Johnson | Mar 5, 2020

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Illinois' new sports gambling rule could turn players to gambling illegally online. | Stock photo

An online gaming venue officially warned Illinois residents that in-person registration could cause people to illegal gambling outlets. 

Illinois plans to introduce a sports wagering program. This program will begin before the NCAA's Men's Basketball tournament later this month when approximately $8.5 billion is wagered, but illegal, offshore gambling websites are already available to residents. The only difference is that gambling illegally online doesn't require a person to leave their house to register in person. 

This new plan coupled with smoking bans have been causing revenue in Illinois' 10 casinos to decrease. 

Yaniv Sherman, head of commercial development at online gambling service 888 Holdings, said sports wagering in Illinois must be registered inside of casinos for 18 months. These casinos and other establishments will be the first businesses to have sports gambling licenses. 

“If you’re sitting at home, you have the choice of betting with an illegal operator or driving 45 minutes into a casino and registering a bet on your mobile device; it’s a no-brainer,” Sherman said to The Center Square

Tom Swoik, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association, said to The Center Square, “Our revenues dropped off about 20 percent from 2007 to 2008 and were just starting to come back up pretty good in 2011. And then video gaming came aboard."

Casino revenues have dropped by 40% as gamblers are turning to online sports gambling and video game gambling. People are still spending money on the games, but that money isn't going to the casinos. 

“You know, we're not, we're not creating any new gamblers,” Swoik told Center Square. 

Sherman's organization, 888 Holdings, plans to offer sports gambling services to residents but is waiting for the first 18 months to end. Sherman said he's interested in obtaining one of the three online licenses that the Illinois Gaming Board will be releasing. 

Illegal online gambling is found nearly everywhere and people often see them as being part of a legal system. 

Last week, several residents were accused of operating these offshore gambling sites. Casey Urlacher, mayor of Mettawa in Lake County, was one of those accused of operating such a site. 

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