Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Kevin Bessler, Author at Baltimore Independent


Student organization applauds end of federal travel mask mandate

A student organization that fought mandates on college campuses in Illinois and elsewhere during the pandemic is applauding a judge’s ruling dropping the travel mask mandate. A federal judge in Florida struck down the Biden administration’s mask mandate for airplanes and other public transportation modes Monday.  The state of Illinois did the same the following day. U.S. […]

Illinois sports bettors bet heavy on men’s college basketball tournament

It appears many Illinoisans had a financial interest in March Madness this year. According to, $286.2 million was bet on both the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments, a record amount. That is a big jump from last year when the March Madness handle was around $200 million. Nearly 96% of the bets were placed […]

Illinois tourism to sponsor NASCAR race in Metro East area

The state of Illinois is now officially a NASCAR sponsor.   State officials announced Monday that the Illinois Office of Tourism will sponsor the “Enjoy Illinois 300” race at the World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, near St. Louis, this summer. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity reports the state is paying $700,000 for naming […]

Officials predict big sports betting numbers for March in Illinois

A sports betting industry insider predicts Illinois will set an all-time state handle record in March and approach $1 billion in bets. In-person registration goes away March 5, marking the first time new customers can register remotely in Illinois since last April. Joe Boozell, with, said the NCAA men’s basketball tournament will also help boost […]

Illinois sports bettors break monthly state record

It was a record-breaking October for Illinois sportsbooks. Retail and online sportsbooks combined to take in over $840 million in wagers, easily topping the record of $633 million set in March. Only New Jersey and Nevada took in more wagers. October mobile sports betting handle was $803.4 million, up 41% from September. Mobile was 95% […]

Illinois sports betting has a big September

Sports betting in Illinois roared back to life in September after a pedestrian summer and pushed the nationwide handle past $5 billion for the month. It is the first time in history the country has reached that number. Illinois sportsbooks reported just over $596 million in handle, good for the second-best month ever behind last […]

Another minority group challenges Illinois’ legislative maps

Another group is protesting the Democratic-drawn legislative maps in Illinois. The Illinois African Americans for Equitable Redistricting (IAAFER) has filed a complaint with the Department of Justice to ensure that the maps optimize opportunities for minority voters to elect candidates of their choice. IAAFER also shared concerns regarding prison gerrymandering and how the practice will […]