When Will Sports Betting Be Legal in Missouri and Illinois?

In the last year and a half, the legalization of sports betting in the United States has been a hot topic. As states such as Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware have introduced legislation to allow sports betting, states such as Missouri and Illinois have also considered legislation that would regulate and potentially legalize sports betting. However, as of mid 2017, it appears that legislation to legalize sports gambling in Missouri and Illinois has stalled. The primary reason for this is the competition from other states that have legalized sports gambling.

Why Does Legalizing Sports Betting Matter To Me?

The first and most obvious reason why legalizing sports betting in Missouri and Illinois is important is because it would allow me to continue my addiction to sports. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love getting a bonus because they bet on the Yankees or the Red Sox? Personally, I enjoy going over to the bookmaker’s site during baseball season and putting some money on the underdogs. Even when the MLB season is over, I will often check out the winning rates of football, basketball, and hockey bets just to see if I can find a better value or if the over or under lines are attractive enough to make gambling a bit more interesting. If you live in Missouri or Illinois and are considering legal action, there are a number of reasons why you might want to keep off sports betting.

Problems Caused By Illegal Sports Betting

Besides the fact that legalizing sports betting would give me a reason to spend more time playing games that I enjoy, legalization would also relieve the state of some of the financial pressure that it has been facing due to the illicit sports betting that is taking place. In a 2017 report by the Washington Post, it was estimated that up to half a billion dollars in sports wagers are placed illegally every year in the United States. According to the report, “law enforcement officials, gaming experts, and sports bettors all cite Delaware as the hub of illegal activity, thanks to the friendly Gaming Laws there.”

That being said, even if you are participating in illegal sports betting, you are likely aware that it is against the law. However, as with many other things in life, illegal activity can be a lot more dangerous and complicated than what the general public knows or cares about. For instance, if you are a sports bettor and decide to go to a bookmaker that is based in another state, it can be hard to know where you stand legally. You might be breaking the law by simply being there, but you also might not know it. The same is true if you are being solicited by an online sports betting company that is based in another state. You have few ways of being sure that you are not breaking any laws, especially when you are operating under the radar.

Protecting Minors From Sports Betting

Another important reason why the legalization of sports betting in Missouri and Illinois is important is because it would provide a means for preventing minors from gambling. For that matter, a lot of states that have introduced legislation to legalize sports betting have included provisions that would prevent minors from participating in sports betting activities. That makes sense, as there is a lot of evidence to suggest that children are particularly vulnerable to being influenced or controlled by gambling. For instance, minors often have easier access to both legal and illegal forms of gambling, and they are also more likely to be influenced by ads and social media when it comes to online gambling, especially when it comes to live betting. In other words, the influence of gambling can spread more easily to minors than to adults.

The Competition From Elsewhere

One of the primary reasons why sports betting legislation in Missouri and Illinois has stalled is due to the competition that it has faced from other states. As mentioned by the Washington Post, when New Jersey and Delaware introduced legislation to legalize sports betting, they made it extremely attractive to licensed sports gambling companies by offering them a 10% commission on all wagers. That is in addition to the larger share of profit that they would otherwise receive from casino operations and horse race tracks. Naturally, that has led to a wave of copycat legislation from other states that want to emulate the success of New Jersey and Delaware.

However, unlike other states that have followed New Jersey and Delaware, Missouri and Illinois have decided not to be so quick to make a profit off of their residents’ addiction to sports. For that matter, the Illinois General Assembly actually decided against any sports betting legislation that did not include a provision that would have required all proceeds from sports betting to be deposited into a fund that would have benefited underprivileged children. In other words, it is largely thanks to the competition from other states that has prevented sports betting from becoming legalized in Missouri and Illinois. But, perhaps, also due to the fact that adults in these states enjoy their addiction to sports as much as I do.

Fortunately, there are still a few states where sports betting is entirely legal. For that matter, some states have actually decided to ignore the competition from other states and have chosen to go their own way. In fact, when New Jersey and Delaware introduced their respective sports betting bills, they cited a number of other states that had already decided to allow sports betting. That said, other than the fact that it would have been an amazing challenge to stop sports betting in these places, Missouri and Illinois might have also decided to pass on the opportunity to profit from the addiction their residents have to sports.

Another important factor that might have played a role in the decision-making process for Missouri and Illinois is the fact that a lot of their residents are religious and do not enjoy gambling. For that matter, a 2013 survey from the Pew Research Center found that 55% of respondents in Missouri said that they would be unwilling to try new kinds of games because they believe that God wants them to be good. Similarly, 51% of respondents in Illinois said that they are opposed to gambling because they consider it sinful. In other words, it is possible that a lot of the opposition to sports betting legalization in Missouri and Illinois is due to their residents’ religious beliefs. Naturally, there will always be those who will try to use their religious beliefs to justify gambling, but on the whole, opposition to sports betting in these places appears to be largely due to good old-fashioned American values such as honesty and fairness.

What Next?

With the primary season for the 2018 NFL season approaching, it is a good time for Missouri and Illinois football fans to start thinking about which teams they will root for this year. For that matter, the upcoming NFL season will pit many of the same powerhouses from last year against each other, so it will be interesting to see which teams emerge victorious. That being said, if you live in Missouri or Illinois and are planning to take action, there will be many reasons why you should root for the Chicago Bears, the Green Bay Packers, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But, before you make any bets, remember that the legal situation regarding sports betting in each state is different, so you might want to consult with an attorney or go through the proper channels at your local bookmaker’s website to be sure that you are doing everything legally. In the meantime, enjoy the games and remember to get your fix when the season ends!