Brief - The Hustle

Illinois is rolling the dice with plans to bring riverboat gambling to dry land

Written by Emily Kelley | Jun 30, 2020 11:03:28 AM

Illinois, whose major investment in video gambling recently went bust, is refusing to fold, recently passing a bill to let riverboat casinos expand onto dry land for the first time. 

The state is mid-debate over the legalization of sports betting. But let’s get back to the important stuff: Riverboat. Casinos

Taking the ‘river’ out of the flop, turn, river 

Illinois is one of 5 states that prohibits gambling on dry land but lets casino-owners set up shop on boats or docked barges (some which sneakily sit on land over inch-deep water pits, a loophole). 

These strange riverboat gambling laws are a holdover from paddle boat glory days, when booze, brawling, and betting flowed freely along the currents of the mighty Mississippi.

So, what changed?

Now that gambling is federally legal, multiple states are jockeying to set up news sportsbook operations. Since Illinois already has some river-ready gambling operations, this new bill is intended to expand existing gambling revenue available to support education.

Plus, they won’t have to deal with card shark attacks anymore.

Who’s not so on board with the plan? The casinos, who may have to dish out up to $10m per sportsbook license.