Governor JB Pritzker Wants To Raise Illinois Sports Betting Taxes To 35%

Written By Cole Rush on February 23, 2024
Photo of Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, who wants to raise the sports betting tax rate from 15% to 35%

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker is making waves in Illinois with his recent budget proposal.

The $52.7 billion budget includes a proposed 20% increase for Illinois sports betting taxes. Currently, operators are taxed at a rate of 15%. If approved, the new budget would require operators to fork up 35%.

Would the tax increase impact Illinois bettors?

Complicated question, that one (why can’t taxes ever be simple?). The short-ish answer is no, at least insofar as it relates to taxes you would pay. The proposed hike is to the tax that operators pay to offer their sportsbooks in Illinois. Your sports betting tax rates would remain the same.

However, that doesn’t mean Illinois bettors would feel nothing at all from the fallout of a 20% increase. Big operators — think FanDuel IL, DraftKings IL, BetMGM IL — would likely have no trouble footing the bill for increased operational taxes. That’s not to say they’d like it, of course, but their coffers are big enough to fork up the cash.

Meanwhile, smaller operators may struggle to make the increase work. For example, Circa Sports operates on a low-hold model. In a previous interview, CEO Derek Stevens told PlayIllinois that the state was a friendly market for operators like Circa. With reasonable tax rates, low-hold sportsbooks or companies without the massive presence of gargantuan brand names can afford to operate in the state.

Should the tax increase become a reality, some operators may be forced to take a long, hard look at their Illinois operations. We may see fallout from the decision, but what form that would take is yet to be determined.

iGaming: Boon or bust?

Meanwhile, the possibility of online casinos in Illinois could put a wrench in the gears.

And in this case, I don’t think such a wrench would be a bad thing. If operators gain the opportunity to launch iGaming in Illinois, revenues from online casinos could offset some of the proposed tax hikes.

Even so, we’re in the early days, and Pritzker’s proposal isn’t yet approved. We’ll see what Illinois does in the coming months.

This type of move isn’t unprecedented. Recently, Ohio raised its sports betting tax rate from 10% to 20%.

Photo by Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune via AP
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Cole Rush

Cole Rush writes words. A lot of them. Most of those words can be found in gambling publications such as PlayIllinois, iGaming Business, Gaming Today,,, ICE 365, and IGB North America. Cole also covers pop culture and books for and Cole has more than eight years of experience writing about gambling and entertainment.

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