By COLE LAUTERBACH, The Center Square
Illinois gaming authorities have crossed a hurdle in their race to allow for sports betting.
The Illinois Gaming Board confirmed Friday that it’s approved three temporary licensing permits, which will allow the businesses to begin staging their operations for an official launch of onsite sports wagering.
The Argosy Casino in Alton, Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, and Rivers Casino in suburban Des Plaines all received their temporary permits.
The movement represents a pivotal step in setting the stage for sport wagering statewide, something that Illinois officials have been working toward for months.
“I have a healthy dose of optimism that Illinoisans may be able to place a legal sports bet by March Madness time,” said state Rep. Michael Zalewski, D-Riverside. “The Gaming Board is doing a thorough but excellent job getting a complex system up and running.”
The temporary license means that the casinos will now be able to begin compiling their books as well as add and train staff that would be taking the wagers. The next step in the process would be a full license. A master sports wagering license has a different process.
Zalewski said Friday that mobile betting would be available inside the actual casino, with fully mobile betting to arrive in 18 months.
PHOTO: Darin Smith, right, and Derrick Chapman celebrate while watching Super Bowl 53 between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams at the Westgate Superbook sports book, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Las Vegas. The Center Square/AP photo