The start of the NFL season is one of the most important on the sports betting calendar. The NFL of course, is the most popular sport for gamblers to bet on and when states and jurisdictions approved sports betting in the spring session, it was with an eye towards being ready to launch in time for that all-important September 5th deadline.
For those states that have budgeted tax revenues paying for programs as a result of launching legalized sports betting, missing that cut-off date is big business.
Washington D.C. and the state of Illinois are two places that will miss that expected launch date, officials confirmed after meetings on Wednesday.
In Washington D.C.’s case, the delay is expected to be well into the Fall. The Office of Lottery and Gaming still needs to agree to the rules that will ultimately govern sports betting in the city.
From there they can begin to formally issue and accept applications, which is expected to start at the end of September. Companies will first be granted provisional approvals so they can begin accepting bets. That process is expected to take 30-45 days once they’ve completed their application. Final approval is expected to take six months.
This is all related to in-house betting. Online gambling was never expected to be ready this quickly. Officials are still projecting early 2020 as the launch date.
In Illinois the pressure is great to launch as neighboring states Indiana and Iowa are expected to be ready in time for the season and they’ll get a head start on attracting business from their big brother.
But it might have been pie in the sky thinking they could be ready so quickly. The state is undergoing one of the largest expansions to gambling that any state has taken in years.
It’s not only sports betting that they are dealing with, but also more video lottery terminal slots, a new casino in Chicago and more to come.
But in a meeting on Wednesday the state’s regulators were only able to briefly get to all of these issues. The next meeting will come on September 5th and it’s expected that more information will be revealed then.
Best case scenario is that rules could start to form after that meeting and within a few weeks gaming operators could start to collect bets. But I wouldn’t hold your breath yet if you live in Illinois. Better to take the short trips to Indiana or Iowa depending on where you live.
Iowa is set to launch August 15th and Indiana by September 1st.