Top Sportsbooks Go to Customers in Fight Against Illinois Tax Hike Proposal

There is a conflict happening regarding sports betting in Illinois. Gov. JB Pritzker wants to increase taxes on winning bets by more than double. However, the betting companies are now requesting their customers to participate in order to prevent it.

The Sports Betting Alliance is a group formed by companies such as DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM. The competitors are all working together to oppose Pritzker’s plan to increase taxes. He believes this would bring in an extra $200 million for the state.

Sports betting has become very popular since it was made legal in Illinois in 2019. The first legal bet was placed the next year. Abbey Sowacke and Charles Cook both consider themselves to be casual online sports bettors. “It adds some excitement to games,” Cook said.

CBS 2 interviewed Sowacke and Cook outside the DraftKings sports book at Wrigley Field. They were probably among online bettors who have received messages from sports betting companies, asking them to write to Illinois lawmakers and oppose the governor’s proposed tax increase.

Currently, Illinois sports books are required to pay a 15% tax on the money they make. However, Pritzker’s most recent budget proposal would increase the tax to 35%.

“The truth is somewhere in between,” said Robert Linnehan, a reporter who covers sports betting regulations for Sports Betting Dime. “The operators are clearly unhappy with the proposal.”

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Sports betting companies have stated that if higher taxes are approved, it would result in worse odds and fewer promotions for users. They are concerned that this could lea  d to an increase in the illegal market. The companies are also warning that the increase in taxes could cause all sportsbooks except the top three to leave Illinois.

“This will change how you place bets,” said Linnehan. “Many people and states, including Illinois, are interested in increasing their earnings. Illinois is seriously considering this opportunity.”

Pritzker’s press secretary, Alex Gough, stated that increasing the wagering tax to 35% in Illinois would still be much lower than the highest rates in the country. For instance, New York’s rate is around 50%. Sowacke was not in favor of increasing taxes. “I simply believe that’s crazy,” she said. “Are you increasing the tax amount?” That’s absurd.

The Sports Betting Alliance recommends that Illinois should legalize online gaming, also known as iGaming, in order to generate additional revenue. Currently, Illinois has a bill that has not gained much support or progress. Currently, iGaming is only legal in a few states.

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