With less than a month remaining before the Illinois general assembly adjourns, the prospects for sports betting becoming legal in the state this year look bleak. There are three bills relating to sports betting in Illinois’ senate and two, SB 3432 and SB 2478, didn’t meet a May 3 deadline imposed by the Gaming Committee.
SB 3432, which is sponsored by ex-NFL running back Napoleon Harris (D-District 15) and includes a league friendly 1 percent integrity fee, did not get a third reading in the Gaming Committee. According to a source from Harris’ office, the bill is effectively dead for this session, though Harris plans to continue refining and reworking it in anticipation of putting forth more complete legislation in 2019.
Illinois Sports Betting Bills Appear Stuck in Committee and Things Don’t Look Much Better on the House Side.
Another bill, SB 2478, also had a third-reading deadline of Wednesday. Sponsored by Senator Steve Stadelman (D-District 34), this bill remains in committee and Stadelman’s office confirmed that the Senator, who is also the chairman of the Gaming Committee, is seeking an extension in the hopes of moving the bill forward during this session. This bill, referred to as the Sports Consumer Protection Action, tasks a state agency with enforcing sports betting laws for both in-person and mobile sports wagering.
A third bill, SB 3125 sponsored by Senator William Brady (R-District 44), would amend the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975 to allow sports wagering at racetracks. The bill was referred back to the Assignments Committee late last month.
On the House side, HB 5186, the so-called Sports Wagering Act introduced by Rep. Tim Butler (R-District 87), isn’t gaining much traction, either. It was referred to the Rules Committee in February and remains there.
Illinois is among about a dozen states that appear to be trying to get ahead of a Supreme Court decision in Murphy v NCAA, the case that could overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The 1992 law effectively outlaws sports betting in all states except Nevada. A decision is expected before the end of the Supreme Court session in June. All three of Illinois’ senate bills require that PAPSA be overturned before sports betting could be made legal in Illinois.
As reported by Sports Handle in March, key issues appear to be questions about where sports betting will take place and whether or not to allow online sports betting. Illinois has 10 casinos and 10 horse racing tracks spread across the state. Both kinds of venues could easily accommodate sports betting, the question is whether they would be allowed to. As in New York, New Jersey and other horse racing states, the tracks want the ability to offer sports betting, too.