Examining Answers to Key Sports Betting Questions in Illinois

After hearing from a bevy of sports betting professionals, major professional leagues, players’ associations, and those opposed to sports betting, Illinois lawmakers continue slow and steady on their approach to legal sports wagering. While the state legislature has been considering different types of gaming for more than a decade, it has been slow to act. And it appears things will be no different when it comes to sports betting.

Illinois currently has 10 casinos and three active racetracks, and there has been discussion in the state legislature about approving additional venues, particularly in the city of Chicago. But politics and procedural questions have long slowed the process. Representative Bob Rita (D-District 28) organized and held two hearings on sports betting, the most recent in the state capitol of Springfield on Oct. 17. In the final analysis, the hearing may have provided more questions than answers:

  • What will the tax rate be?;
  • What will the mobile/internet component look like?;
  • Will there be any kind of payout to the professional leagues? The players’ associations?;
  • Where will the state’s cut of sports betting revenue go?; and
  • Whose bill will make it to a vote?

Sports Betting Hearings Left IL Lawmakers With More Questions Than Answers, So Don’t Expect a Bill to Be Filed Until 2019. 

Rita said last week that he doesn’t expect sports betting to come before the Illinois general assembly until the new session begins in late January. The state does have a two-week “veto session” around Thanksgiving, but it’s highly unlikely that any legislation will be far enough through the pipeline to be considered at that point. There’s multiple sports betting bills floating around the general assembly, some to do with sports betting, others to do with daily fantasy sports and still others to do with iGaming. But none, according to Rita, address all the relevant issues, and none have made it to a full vote.


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Hearing Reveals Illinois Lawmakers Moving Toward Legalizing Sports Betting

If anything became clear from Wednesday’s Joint Committee on Revenue in Finance in Illinois it was this: Illinois lawmakers are eager to pass a bill legalizing sports wagering in Illinois. The question — or questions — are what the bill will look like. During the four-plus hour hearing in Springfield, lawmakers heard from gaming stakeholders, representatives from individual cities and towns, pro sports players’ associations, Major League Baseball and the Chicago White Sox, various horsemen’s groups and racetracks and those opposed to sports betting.

Questions from the bi-partisan panel of lawmakers almost exclusively focused on details, suggesting that many had already made the decision that legal sports betting is right for Illinois. But the devil is in the details, and when it comes to legalizing sports betting, there are many, many, many details.

The hearing was put together by Representative Bob Rita (D-District 28) and was the second of two in the last few months. Rita introduced SB 7 in 2017, and the bill has gone through multiple iterations and evolved into a comprehensive bill that contemplates online gaming and daily fantasy sports as well.

Sports Betting on Agenda This Week In Indiana, Illinois and Washington, D.C.

Indiana, Illinois and the District of Columbia will have hearings on sports betting this week. Both the Indiana and Illinois hearings are informational, ahead of the midterm elections and winter sessions, while the D.C. Council hearing could be the first step in legalizing sports betting before the end of the year.

In Indiana, the Interim Study Committee on Public Policy, chaired by Representative Ben Smaltz (R-District 52) will hear public testimony and have a committee discussion about legal sports betting before issuing a recommendation on the topic on Friday beginning at 12 p.m. ET.  The Indiana General Assembly adjourned in March without legalizing sports betting.

Sports betting was definitely a hot topic among some members of the assembly, and in January, Representative Alan Morrison (R-District 42) introduced HB 1325, a sports wagering bill that marked the first appearance of a bill containing several pro leagues’ “Model Legislation” language and a 1 percent “integrity fee” that they’ve been after.  The bill died in committee and no additional legislation was introduced before the session closed. On the Senate side, Jon Ford (R-District 38) also introduced legislation, but it, too, died in committee.


Read more Sports Betting on Agenda This Week In Indiana, Illinois and Washington, D.C. on SportsHandle.

Wide Range of Testimony Offered at First Illinois Gaming Hearing

The post Wide Range of Testimony Offered at First Illinois Gaming Hearing appeared first on SportsHandle.

Illinois lawmakers on Wednesday heard plenty during a four-plus hour hearing in Chicago about legalizing gaming in the state. Speakers at the meeting ranged from those representing municipalities, including the city of Chicago, to those opposed to gaming altogether to video gaming interests and casinos.

While sports betting was not a key part of the agenda, at least one speaker noted his company’s interest and referred to a second hearing, set for October. Wednesday’s hearing before the members of both the Gaming and Sales and Other Taxes House subcommittees, was arranged by Representative Bob Rita (D-District 28), who has been carrying the sports betting torch in Illinois for more than five years.

Though the hearing didn’t focus on sports betting, it was an opportunity to begin to lay the groundwork and understand what all interested parties are thinking.  A second hearing, scheduled for Oct. 22 in the state capital of Springfield, will focus on sports betting, online gaming and fantasy sports.

October Hearing Will Focus on IL Sports Betting, Online Gaming and Fantasy Sports.

On Wednesday, lawmakers heard all manner of testimony, ranging from several municipalities that are in support of gaming to a sweepstakes company that gave a detailed explanation of how that business works. In addition, the panel was admonished by several opposed to gaming, including one woman who told the group that the legislature “should not be in the business of making more money,” but rather should focus on creating a “just” society.

The net result was more information for the panel to begin anew the process of legalizing sports betting and other gaming in Illinois.

From here, the next step is that second hearing, after which lawmakers will likely begin crafting legislation that aims to satisfy as many interested parties as possible. When sports betting – or other gaming, for that matter – may get to the House or Senate floors remains a question. The earliest opportunity would be in November, after the gubernatorial election, during what is referred to as a “veto session.” The two-week session is used to consider vetoed legislation, as well as pending issues.

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Illinois Municipalities, Potential Stakeholders to Speak at Sports Betting Hearing

The post Illinois Municipalities, Potential Stakeholders to Speak at Sports Betting Hearing appeared first on SportsHandle.

Illinois lawmakers will hold the state’s first hearing on sports betting on Wednesday in Chicago, as the state gears up to put together sports betting legislation for the 2019 session.

Representative Bob Rita (D-District 28), who has been the Democratic point person on Illinois gaming issues for five years, arranged the hearings, which will be before both the Gaming and Sales and Other Taxes House subcommittees.

The goal of the hearings is to bring stakeholders and lawmakers together in order to craft passable legislation for the next session.

City of Chicago, Illinois Horse Tracks and Video Gaming Organizations to Speak at IL Sports Betting Hearing Wednesday.

illinois sports betting robert rita
Rep. Rita.

The expected participants at Wednesday’s hearing represent government, municipalities, horse tracks, video gaming interests and others. A second hearing in October in Springfield will address sports betting, online gaming, fantasy sports.

According to a press release, the following people/groups are expected to speak at Wednesday’s hearing:

  • The State Legislature’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability on Senate Bill 7 as amended in the House;
  • Rita on his House amendment to Senate Bill 7;
  • City of Chicago;
  • Rockford, Waukegan, South Suburbs and Danville;
  • Horse tracks seeking slots and table games – Fairmount, Hawthorne and Arlington;
  • Companies seeking to legalize sweepstakes machines;
  • Video gaming organizations – Illinois Gaming Machine Operators Association, Illinois Retail Gaming Operators Association, Illinois Licensed Beverage Association; and
  • Opponents to Senate Bill 7.

Rita’s SB 7 , which would create a Chicago Gaming Authority, amend the Illinois Lottery law and establish an internet gaming board, was one of several sports betting initiatives in the Illinois state legislature last session. The bill would lay the groundwork for sports betting. Other proposals included Senator Steve Stadelman’s (D-District 34) SB 2478 and Senator Napoleon Harris’ (D-District 15) SB 3432, but neither got out of committee. There has also been much back-and-forth between those lawmakers that want to push forward with sports betting and those who want to take a slower approach.

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Illinois Municipalities, Potential Stakeholders to Speak at Sports Betting Hearing

Money Troubles Drive Illinois Rep to Schedule Two Sports Betting Hearings

The post Money Troubles Drive Illinois Rep to Schedule Two Sports Betting Hearings appeared first on SportsHandle.

Illinois state lawmakers didn’t legalize sports betting during the 2018 legislative session, but Representative Bob Rita (D-Blue Island) is doing everything he can to make sure the body is ready for the next session.

Rita announced via press release earlier this week that he will hold two subcommittee hearings involving Illinois sports betting later this year. The first hearing is set for Aug. 22 in Chicago and the second for Oct. 3 in Springfield. The hearings will be held by the subcommittees on Gaming and Sales and Other Taxes of which Rita is the sub-chairperson.

According to the press release, the goal is to cover sports betting, DFS, online casinos, and online poker — and to try to generate some revenue to help right the state’s ailing financial situation.

Representative Looking to Illinois Sports Betting to Help Alleviate State’s Debt.

“As I have said from the beginning in working on this issue, gaming expansion presents many tremendous opportunities to create revenue, jobs and economic growth in Illinois,” Rita said in the release. “The gaming landscape has changed significantly since I took on this issue five years ago, and I want to use these hearings to understand how those changes present new opportunities for us to put the right package together as we look to meet budget needs and provide a spark for our economy.”

In Illinois, PGA Tour Officially Joins the NBA and MLB in Support of League-Preferred Sports Betting Legislation
Harrah’s Hotel & Casino in Metropolis, IL

The driving factor behind legalizing sports betting – and any other new revenue sources in Illinois – is the state’s dreadful finances. The state reportedly has the lowest credit rating in the country and is already $16 billion in debt. It’s unlikely sports betting would solve that problem – a study earlier this year predicts that New York will be largest sports betting market in the U.S. and will net $700 million in annual revenue within the next five years.

Illinois Lawmakers Have Been Trying to Make Illinois Sports Betting and Other Revenue Sources Legal for at Least 5 Years. 

Rita has had his hand in sports betting and gaming legislation in Illinois over the long term. Dating back to 2014, Rita attempted to legalize online gaming, but with no success. He tried again in 2016 and 2017. In 2017, he also sponsored a bill recommending that Congress repeal PASPA, and since has sponsored bills relating to advance deposits, video gaming, and the creation of the Chicago Casino Development Authority. 

The goal of Rita’s hearings is to educate lawmakers and develop a consensus ahead of the 2019 session. Should legislation come out of the hearings, it would not be voted on until after the state’s November mid-term elections.

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