Illinois lawmakers worked through the Memorial Day weekend and one of the issues that their attention was focused on was sports betting. But despite the extra work days, no bills came out of the Gaming Committee. SB 7, sponsored by Representative Robert Rita (D-District 28), which was scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday, was voted on by the Executive Committee over the weekend, but didn’t get enough votes to move forward.
Neither of the two Senate bills that had been referred to the Gaming Committee, Senator Steve Stadelman’s (D-District 34) SB 2478 nor Senator Napoleon Harris’ (D-District 15) SB 3432 have made much progress. reached a vote in the committee over the holiday weekend. A staffer in Stadelman’s office last week that the legislature may hold informational hearings about sports betting over the summer, but it was unclear if any legislation would reach a vote before the general assembly adjourns Thursday.
Rita’s SB 7 hasn’t been on the radar in terms of sports betting, as it was originally intended to build a casino within the city of Chicago. But the bill has been amended to include literal placeholders – one or two sentences naming the amendment – for daily fantasy, sports wagering and internet gaming. There is no description of what any of these would look like should the bill pass.
With the Legislative Session Set to Adjourn Thursday, Illinois Lawmakers Appear to Be at Odds on how, if to Proceed With Making Sports Betting Legal.
Illinois lawmakers have been at loggerheads over how to proceed with regard to sports betting. Stadelman and Harris have been trying to push bills forward throughout the session, but Representative Lou Lang (D-District 16) said the state should take its time and not “screw it up,”shortly after the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act on May 14.
A poll by the Daily Herald bore out the rift between lawmakers. According to the story, the choice to support or not support sports betting crossed party lines. Twenty-one of 55 legislators said they support or would support a sports betting initiative, and of those 21, 11 are Republicans and 10 Democrats. Another 11 lawmakers oppose sports betting in Illinois and the remaining 23 are undecided.
Illinois, which is surrounded by states also weighing legalizing sports betting, has much to sort out. As examples, Stadelman’s bill does not include the “integrity fee” favored by the pro sports leagues, while Harris’ does. Harris’ bill calls for a 12.5 percent tax and a $10,000 licensing fee while Stadelman does not address a specific tax rate or licensing fee. Both bills do define “electronic” or “interactive” sports betting, which would indicate that should either bill pass, mobile and online wagering would be legal.
Whether or not Illinois is able to hammer out a bill that could become law before the end of the session remains to be seen. Either way, the state is acutely aware that it’s neighbors, most notably Michigan, and many other states across the U.S. are moving forward.
“It’s clear other states are going to create this economy — with or without Illinois,” Senate President John Cullerton told the Daily Herald.