Illinois should allow sports betting

May 16, 2018 GMT

It’s not the most desirable choice when it comes to generating revenue for cash-strapped Illinois.

But let’s face it — the Supreme Court decision made Monday which will allow states to offer legalized betting on sports is going to prove quite popular.

New Jersey, which brought the case forward, is expected to act almost immediately. Others will follow suit, and before long, states that don’t allow sports betting will be in the distinct minority.

Illinois is in no position to fall into the latter category. The most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the state placed its net long-term deficit at a whopping $141.7 billion.

Meanwhile sports betting has become a huge business, generating at least $150 billion per year nationally. A good chunk of that money is being wagered by Illinoisans, but not a dime is entering state coffers because it is being illegally spent.

While it will take some time for the state Legislature to iron out the details, the time to begin is now. We already lag behind neighboring and other states in terms of seizing economic opportunity, and can ill afford to let another chance slip away.