In an effort to kick-start discussions on sports betting, state Rep. Mike Zalewski has filed four different proposals to bring sports betting to Illinois.
The Riverside Democrat said the proposals will be discussed at a hearing of the House Revenue Committee next week.
“What we have learned the last few months is there is great interest and agreement in the gaming industry to bring sports betting and its economic benefits to Illinois and little agreement yet on now to best do it,” Zalewski said in a statement.
Zalewski said the proposals that will be discussed were modeled on sports betting in effect in other states like New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. He said each proposal will “generate hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue and other economic benefits with varying rates and fees.”
A detailed fact sheet is here.
* Sports Handle…
Zalewski’s plan is to legalize sports betting by the end of this session, but Illinois has a history of resistance to gambling expansion, so the question of whether or not mobile sports wagering will be front and center is one that is currently unanswered.
“I think it may be in-person sports betting to start and then mobile will roll out,” Zalewski told Sports Handle. “The brick and mortars in this state are going to say, ‘We’ve been here the longest, we’ve vetted, we’ve tested, we’ve been here before, why would you wait here for the online guys, when we’re show ready right now?’
“That may be appealing to us as a policy piece. It’s a hybrid, so I think slow beginnings are probably preferred over going too fast. “
* Hannah Meisel…
Zalewski’s four options for legalized sports betting all take different approaches. One amendment would allow the Illinois Lottery to take on the responsibilities for sports betting, rather than the Illinois Gaming Board. It would also allow people to make their bets anywhere Illinois lottery tickets are already sold, like a gas stations or convenience stores. […]
Another amendment would allow professional sports leagues to get a cut of sales from sports betting in Illinois. Zalewski acknowledged that this idea isn’t universally popular because not everyone thinks that leagues should share in the revenue. But, Zalewski pointed out that Illinois is the home to many pro teams. […]
The New Jersey model would allow operator licenses for all riverboats and organizational licensees, and allow for bets both online and in person.
The Mississippi model would empower the Illinois Gaming Board to do more, though online betting in that model would not be allowed from a better’s own home. Rather, a person would have to be physically in a brick-and-mortar casino or racetrack to place bets online.
* Dan Petrella…
Also looming in the background are perennial issues — such as creating new casino licenses and allowing slot machines at horse tracks — that have derailed negotiations over gambling expansion for the past decade. Pritzker has said he wants sports betting to be dealt with separately from other gambling issues.
Casinos, horse tracks and video gambling operators are “all very interested in sports betting as an option, and they’re all still very much interested in what they want separately,” Zalewski said.
“Among lawmakers, we’re very cognizant that it’s hard to keep this issue separated,” he said. “That being said, if you get bogged down on this topic because people insist on getting … a hundred percent of what they want, then we won’t get it done.”
If lawmakers are able to get a bill to Pritzker’s desk this spring, Illinois could be the first Midwestern state to legalize sports betting after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year overturned a prohibition on state-sanctioned wagering on sporting events.
[Headline changed because I had a brain freeze or something.]