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It’s ba-ack!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

* Tribune

All three bills under consideration would legalize fantasy sports, tax it and set up oversight by the Illinois Gaming Board, which also oversees casinos and video machines at bars and restaurants. Two of the bills also would legalize internet gaming, like playing poker online, but only for websites operated by companies that own Illinois casinos.

Including internet games was a move designed to bring on board casino operators, who view fantasy sports as competition but have long wanted to break into the online gambling space.

“There was controversy last year as to why are we regulating daily fantasy sports activity, which is ongoing in the state, and not regulating internet gaming, which is also occurring,” said Sen. Kwame Raoul, a Chicago Democrat who is sponsoring one of the bills. “So what this bill attempts to do is also regulate and bring licensure and supervision of internet gaming under the jurisdiction of the Gaming Board. And it would limit the operation of internet gaming to existing casinos.”

The internet gaming provision has been pushed hard by Rush Street Interactive, an online gaming business affiliated with the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, whose owner is Neil Bluhm, a Chicago real estate and gambling executive. Bluhm has given more than $500,000 in campaign contributions to lawmakers from both parties over the past 20 years, records show.

But as the final hours of the spring legislative session ticked away, the rushed nature of the effort was on display in the Senate on Tuesday morning when more than a dozen representatives of the horse racing industry packed into a hearing room to object to the legislation.

Before they had a chance, Raoul announced plans to amend the bill to give racetrack owners the right to obtain an internet gambling license as well. Those from the horse racing industry said they’d be satisfied with the accommodation, which hadn’t been put down on paper before the hearing. Looking to advance the legislation to the Senate floor in time for votes before Wednesday’s adjournment, senators pushed the measure through the committee.

The House Executive Committee hearing room was so crowded with lobbyists and industry representatives last night that it was difficult to move.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 12:09 pm:

    Every year like Groundhog Day.
    You can almost hear the distant strains of “I got you babe” echoing in the chamber.

  2. - Lech W - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 12:09 pm:

    They better act fast …Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan concluded in December 2015 that pay-to-play daily fantasy is illegal under state law.

  3. - amalia - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 12:33 pm:

    get it done. and while you’re at it, legalize marijuana. tax it!

  4. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 12:42 pm:

    To each their own, but online gambling strikes me as a grim form of entertainment. Not exactly pretensions of the Rat Pack.

    In my neck of the woods, you can’t swing a cat without hitting a video poker outlet on Roosevelt, Madison or North (outside Oak Park, River Forest and Chicago, of course).

  5. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 12:59 pm:

    I think it’s high time we put slots in the museums. You know there’s always one person in group that doesn’t really want to go to the Art Institute. They could hang out near the gift shop and gamble while everyone else is looking at paintings.

  6. - Ron - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 1:55 pm:

    legalize marijuana. tax it!

    That’s an easy $300,000,000.00 annually in pension payments right there.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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