Illinois is one step away from legal sports betting after a last-ditch campaign by Rep. Bob Rita dropped into place this weekend.
House lawmakers voted to approve a wide expansion of gambling inside a capital funding bill on Saturday, and the Senate followed suit on Sunday. Gambling provisions within the act comprise a long-awaited casino in Chicago and authorization for both retail and online sports betting.
The bill now moves to the desk of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, whose current comments make it clear he’ll sign it into law. The governor helped shepherd IL sports gambling across the finish line, seeking to drive more than $200 million in extra revenue to his nation.
Passage was, frankly, a remarkable accomplishment taking into consideration the lack of progress through the first five months of this year. Previous proposals from Rep. Mike Zalewski were all turned aside, and also a perceived conflict of interest forced him to step back at the final days of session.
LSR continues to be keeping a close watch on the chatter this weekend and upgrading this webpage as the situation unfolded. Here is the play-by-play:
Is Sunday the day for Illinois sports gambling?
The Senate finally takes the floor following 4 p.m. local time. It does not take long.
Sen. Terry Link presents the terms of the amended bill, which carries a total projected fiscal impact of $12 billion. Commendations and positive comments from Sen. Dave Syverson, the Senate Minority Leader, seem to indicate that passing is a certainty.
Opinions are short and mostly surface-level, using a few lawmakers poking around at narrow provisions that affect their components. Sen. John Curran is the only person who speaks to sports betting at any length, looking for clarification about the branding provisions for online platforms.
Link is psychological as he closes the proceedings, reflecting on his 20-year effort to increase economic growth from manufacturing.
The chamber applauds as the board lights up green, and the Senate concurs with the House changes by a 46-10 vote. Just like this, the bill that will legalize sports betting in Illinois is headed to the governor.
IL sports gambling bill as amended
Here’s the Complete text of this language:
What is in the change?
The new vertical funding bill includes a multi-level gaming package headlined by a mega-casino in Chicago. The step also has six categories of licensure for IL sports gambling:
Master sports wagering
Management services supplier Tier 2 official league info supplier Central system provider In stark terms, these categories make it possible for casinos, race tracks, and sports venues to provide sports betting — equally in-person and online. The provisions that concern online betting, however, require in-person enrollment for the initial 18 months.
The amendment also authorizes a lottery execution encompassing 2,500 locations in the very first year.
IL sports gambling details
The commission for a master sports betting license is calculated based on gross gaming revenue from the last year. Casinos will cover 5 percent of that number to provide sports betting for four yearsup to a maximum of $10 million. That cap wasn’t present in recent versions and should ease the load on large operators such as Rush Street Gaming. Rita also softened the proposed tax rate down to 15 percent of earnings.
As you can infer from the classes, language mandating using official league info for props and in-play gambling stuck. Even though there’s no integrity fee, the bill does enable schools and sports leagues to limit the types of available wagers. As written, in-state collegiate sports are off the board in Illinois.
The change removes the total blackout period for internet gambling that snuck to a previous version, but it does retain a modified penalty box for DraftKings and FanDuel. Daily fantasy sports companies will be allowed to compete in the sports betting arena, but just master licensees can offer online wagering for the first 18 months.
The change also generates three online-only permits costing $20 million apiece, awarded on a delay via a competitive procedure.
Saturday: Agreement reached for IL sports gambling Around three hours into the weekend session, we’re still in a holding pattern. House lawmakers have ticked several more items off their to-do record now, including a bill that increases the minimum salary for Illinois teachers. For the time being, however, there’s nothing new to report on sports gambling.
Aside from the things we are already touched , a couple other challenges have cropped up.
Perhaps most importantly, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot publicly opposes the bill as written. Her principal concern is the provision permitting sportsbooks interior of stadiums and arenas.
Mayoral opposition leads to’comprehension’
Here’s the announcement from Mayor Lightfoot, as reported by Capitol Fax:
“I firmly support a gambling bill that directs a brand new casino and dollars to the city of Chicago. However, I oppose the inclusion of a provision which would open up sports wagering in areas like Soldier Field. Such a proposal has the capacity to undermine the viability of any Chicago-based casino via the diversion of consumers and revenue from a casino. Because the effect of sports wagering in stadiums has not been completely vetted or examined, I can’t support the bill in its present form and urge the deletion of this stadium-betting provision.”
On Saturday, however, the governor releases a follow-up statement indicating that the conversation is still moving forward:
“I have spoken to Mayor Lightfoot concerning her concerns with respect to sports gambling, and we’ve collaboratively worked with the bill sponsors to make clear that the legislative intent will reflect that there are limits on both the amount of and locations for sports betting venues. I am happy that we have reached this understanding…”
Mayor Lightfoot then drops her opposition via another statement:
“After successful talks with the Governor, we have agreed to permit a limited amount of gambling at sports venues subject to local oversight and control. These enhancements to the gaming proposition will permit us to maximize revenue capabilities of a brand new casino for the City of Chicago and guarantee a good quality of life for our neighborhoods which may otherwise be impacted. Therefore, I recommend the passing of SB 690 as amended…”
Illinois House votes yes on sports gambling Following a break for committee meetings and caucuses, Rep Bob Rita files a final amendment to the funding package. The sport gambling language looks mostly unchanged at a glance, although there are a great deal of words to get through. The bill is called for second reading around 6 p.m. local time and moved directly to third.
By that point, it is evident that House lawmakers have reached a agreement to pass a number of big bills — such as this one — until the end of the evening. The floor presentation becomes something of a victory lap for Rita, with several associates commending him for his wide efforts to shore up vertical infrastructure. In his final, Rita thanks Rep. Mike Zalewski for his work.
The House votes 87-27 in favor of passage, sending the bill back to the room of origin for concurrence. The Senate meets Sunday in 3 p.m.
Friday: Last gasp for IL sports gambling prospects
Friday was frantic in the state capitol, with a myriad of important issues to hammer out on the final day of the scheduled session. Lawmakers did create a dent in the pile of invoices, but leaders had been forced to issue a bad-news bulletin stretching the work week during Sunday.
Although sports gambling remains unresolved, a substantial effort has surfaced.
Rep. Robert Rita grabbed the reins on Friday, borrowing in the framework of Rep. Mike Zalewski to cobble together a compromise bill. His effort ran from daylight on the House floor, however, the bonus weekend of lawmaking means there is still hope for sports gambling this year.
While there’s some momentum, failure to cast a vote on Friday makes the task just a little bit taller. Any invoices considered from here on out require a 3/5ths supermajority to passa brink which could simply be out of reach.
Here’s a chronological timeline of the day’s events:
A brand new automobile for IL sports betting Lawmakers begin the day behind closed doors, working to finalize the framework for IL sports gambling. Most presume S 516 will serve as the car, a Chicago casino invoice that seems to be a suitable target for the enabling language. A midday curveball, however, shifts the attention.
Joe Ostrowski is a Chicago radio anchor who has had his ear to the ground this week, and he’s the first to show that everybody is looking in the wrong place.
Joe Ostrowski
Some optimism in Springfield for sport gambling.
SB 690 should shed very soon.
7:22 PM – May 31, 2019
Twitter Ads information and privacy See Joe Ostrowski’s other Tweets
The invoice he cites (S 690) isn’t a gaming bill, but a measure amending tax provisions at the Invest in Kids Act. The present version has already cleared the Senate and awaits a floor vote in the lower room. Unexpectedly, some expect House lawmakers to file a new amendment linked to sports betting.
Sure enough, a placeholder pops upon the docket, using a hearing in the House Executive committee scheduled for 1:30 p.m. local time. A change of host to Sen. Terry Link provides an additional indication that something is about to happen.
LSR sources indicate that there’s good reason to track the conversation all the way up until the past gavel.
Senate Appropriations committee hearing
Sen. Link presents the amended bill to the committee, and… boy, is there a lot in it.
Along with the gaming provisions, it also rolls taxes for cigarettes, parking, video lottery terminals, and a number of different mechanisms to increase state revenue. The overall fiscal impact is close to $1 billion, with sport gambling representing just a very small component of the bundle.
It is the quickest of hearings, over in under five minutes. One member inquires whether the bill increases the number of slot machines for each casino licensee — it does — and that is about it.
House Executive committee hearing
A heated floor debate on a marijuana bill (which ultimately passed) delays the House hearing by several hours.
After the committee eventually convenes, Rep. Mike Zalewski is a surprise addition to the dais at the front of the room. Although the long-suffering proponent of IL sports betting recently stepped back in the spotlight, Rita’s bill still lists him as the primary House sponsor. The committee replacements Zalewski in as a temporary member to cast a vote in favour of passing.
Without much lead time, the change attracts 34 proponents and nine opponents (which later grows to 18). Casino groups including Boyd Gaming, Penn National Gaming, and also the Illinois Casino Association remain opposed to the final language.
Members of this committee have plenty of questions, however, the bulk of the conversation centers about gambling terms not related to sports gambling. Rita struggles to describe some of the finer points in detail, especially as they relate to DraftKings and FanDuel. It is complex.
The language enables online platforms, but online-only firms can not find licensure for the initial 18 months of IL sports betting. The host indicates he constructed his bill this way to”provide Illinois companies a ramp” into the new sector. Rita also notes that his amendment will not impact the existing status quo for DFS.
The committee advocates adoption of the change with an 8-5 vote, progressing the bill to the floor. There’s still a lot of work left to do prior to adjournment, equally on sports betting and on a number of critical issues — such as the state budget.
Formerly, in Illinois sports betting…
This year’s attempt to legalize sports betting follows in the footsteps of this failed 2018 effort.
As it did last year, work began early in 2019. Lawmakers cobbled together a variety of possible frameworks, each catering to a specific group of stakeholders. Once again, though, nothing widely palatable had emerged since the past few hours of session ticked off the clock.
The proposed budget from Gov. J.B. Pritzker includes $217 million in earnings from sports gambling, so there’s more at stake than just the liberty to bet. Failure would force Illinois to observe from the sidelines while its neighbors in Indiana and Iowa activate their new legislation.
Who will participate?
The concept of the”penalty box” is the biggest barrier to some passing at the moment.
To make a long story short, a few casino groups are working to keep DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook from the Illinois marketplace. They assert that daily fantasy sports is not explicitly legal in the country, and these so-called awful actors ought to be excluded from licensure for three decades. The real motivation is, clearly, a desire to eliminate competition from both companies working away together with the New Jersey sports gambling market.
DraftKings responded by temporarily running a television campaign pushing back on the obstruction from Rush Street Gaming.
How much does it cost?
The sport leagues have also gained more leverage with Illinois lawmakers than they have elsewhere in the country.
Most previous tips for IL sports gambling required payment of a ethics fee and using official league data to settle”Tier 2″ wagers. No US sports betting legislation comprises a ethics fee, and Tennessee is the only one that has a data mandate.
Coupled with licensing fees payable out at $25 million and taxes amounting to 20 percent of revenue, these operational burdens can stand between the invoice and the end line.
Who is in charge?
Rep. Mike Zalewski carried the baton all spring, but a lack of advancement and also a perceived conflict of interest forced him to step aside in the 11th hour.
Start-of-day intel indicates that Rep. Bob Rita is actively working to stuff the enabling language in the broader gaming package before lawmakers head home for the year. In what could be seen as a reassuring sign, Senate Republican Leader Sen. Dave Syverson has signed on as a co-sponsor.
There is no warranty that bill moves, though, and perhaps it doesn’t contain sports betting provisions even when it does.
Matt Kredell contributed to this story.

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