Illinois Lawmakers Vote To Approve Sports Betting On Last Day Of Session

Illinois is 1 step away from legal sports betting after a last-ditch effort by Rep. Bob Rita dropped into place that weekend.
House lawmakers voted to approve a wide expansion of gambling inside a funding funding bill on Saturday, and the Senate followed suit on Sunday. Gaming provisions within the act include a long-awaited casino in Chicago and consent for both retail and online sports gambling.
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 end line, wanting to drive more than $200 million in additional revenue to his nation.
Passage was, frankly, a remarkable accomplishment taking into consideration the absence of advancement during the first five weeks of this year. Previous hints 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 has been keeping a close watch on the chatter this weekend and upgrading this webpage as the situation unfolded. Here’s the play-by-play:
Is Sunday the afternoon for Illinois sports betting?
The Senate eventually takes the ground after 4 p.m. local time. It does not take long.
Sen. Terry Link presents the terms of the amended bill, which includes a complete projected fiscal impact of $12 billion. Commendations and favorable comments from Sen. Dave Syverson, the Senate Minority Leader, seem to signal that passage is a certainty.
Comments are short and largely surface-level, with a couple lawmakers poking around at narrow provisions which affect their components. Sen. John Curran is the only one who speaks to sports gambling at any given length, seeking clarification about the branding provisions for internet platforms.
Link is emotional as he shuts the event, representing on his 20-year effort to increase economic development from manufacturing.
The room applauds as the board lights up green, and the Senate concurs with the House changes with a 46-10 vote. Just like this, the bill that will legalize sports gambling in Illinois is headed to the Senate.
IL sports gambling bill as amended
Here’s the full text of the language:
What is in the change?
The new vertical financing bill includes a multi-level gaming package headlined by a mega-casino at Chicago. The measure also offers six categories of licensure for IL sports gambling:
Master sports wagering
Management services supplier Tier 2 official league info provider Central system provider In plain terms, these classes allow casinos, race tracks, and sports venues to provide sports gambling — equally in-person and online. The provisions that concern online gambling, however, require in-person enrollment for the first 18 months.
The amendment also authorizes a lottery execution encompassing 2,500 locations in the first year.
IL sports betting details
The fee for a master sports betting license is calculated based on gross gaming revenue from the previous year. Casinos will pay 5% of the number to offer sports gambling for four years, up to a max of $10 million. That cap was not present in recent versions and should ease the load on large operators like Rush Street Gaming. Rita also softened the projected tax rate down to 15% of earnings.
As you can infer from the classes, language mandating using official league data for props and in-play gambling stuck. While there’s absolutely no integrity fee, the invoice will not empower colleges and sports leagues to restrict the kinds of available wagers. As composed, weatherproof collegiate sports are off the plank in Illinois.
The amendment removes the overall blackout period for internet betting that snuck into an earlier version, but it will retain a modified penalty box for DraftKings and FanDuel. Daily fantasy sports businesses will be permitted to compete at 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 by means of a competitive procedure.
Saturday: Agreement reached for IL sports gambling Around three hours to the weekend semester, 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 wages for Illinois teachers. For now, though, there’s nothing new to report online sports betting.
Apart from the things we’re already touched on, a couple other challenges have cropped up.
Perhaps most notably, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot publicly opposes the bill as written. Her main concern is that the provision permitting sportsbooks interior of stadiums and arenas.
Mayoral resistance leads to’understanding’
Here’s the announcement from Mayor Lightfoot, as mentioned by Capitol Fax:
“I firmly support a gaming bill that sends a brand new casino and dollars to the city of Chicago. However, I oppose the addition of a provision which would open sports wagering in areas like Soldier Field. Such a proposal has the potential to undermine the viability of any Chicago-based casino through the recreation of consumers and revenue from a casino. Since the impact of sports wagering in stadiums has not been completely vetted or examined, I cannot support the bill in its current form and advocate the deletion of this stadium-betting provision”
On Saturday, however, the governor releases a follow-up statement indicating that the dialogue is moving ahead:
“I’ve spoken to Mayor Lightfoot about her concerns with regards to sports gambling, and we’ve collaboratively worked with the bill sponsors to make clear that the legislative intent will reveal that there are limitations on both the number of and locations for sports betting venues. I am happy that we’ve reached this understanding…”
Mayor Lightfoot then drops her opposition via another statement:
“After productive discussions with the Governor, we’ve agreed to allow a limited quantity of betting at sports areas subject to local control and oversight. These improvements to the gaming proposition will allow us to maximize earnings capabilities of a new casino to the City of Chicago and ensure a fantastic quality of life for our neighborhoods that might otherwise be impacted. Therefore, I recommend the passing of SB 690 as amended…”
Illinois House votes yes on sports betting After a break for committee meetings and caucuses, Rep Bob Rita files a final amendment to the funding package. The sport gambling language appears mostly unchanged in a glance, though there are a lot of words to make it through. The bill is known as second reading about 6 p.m. local time and moved straight to third.
By that point, it is evident that House lawmakers have reached a agreement to pass quite a few big bills — including this one — until the end of the night. The ground presentation becomes something of a victory lap for Rita, with different members commending him for his broad efforts to shore up vertical infrastructure. In his closing, Rita thanks Rep. Mike Zalewski because of his job.
The House votes 87-27 in favor of passing, sending the bill back to the room of origin for concurrence. The Senate matches Sunday at 3 p.m.
Friday: Last gasp for IL sports betting prospects
Friday was frantic at the state capitol, with a myriad of key issues to hammer out on the last day of the scheduled session. Lawmakers did create a dent in the pile of bills, but leaders were made to issue a bad-news bulletin stretching the work week through Sunday.
Although sports gambling remains stagnant, a significant effort has surfaced.
Rep. Robert Rita captured the reins on Friday, borrowing from the framework of Rep. Mike Zalewski to cobble together a compromise bill. His effort ran from daylight on the House floor, but the bonus weekend of lawmaking means there is still hope for sports gambling this season.
While there’s a momentum, failure to cast a vote Friday makes the task just a little bit taller. Any bills considered from here on out demand a 3/5ths supermajority to pass, a threshold that may just be out of reach.
Here’s a chronological timeline of the day’s events:
A brand new vehicle for IL sports betting Lawmakers start the day behind closed doors, working to finalize the frame for IL sports betting. Most assume S 516 will serve as the car, a Chicago casino bill that seems to be an appropriate 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 reveal that everybody is looking in the incorrect location.
Joe Ostrowski
Some optimism in Springfield for sports gambling.
SB 690 should drop very soon.
7:22 PM – May 31, 2019
Twitter Ads info and solitude See Joe Ostrowski’s additional Tweets
The bill he references (S 690) isn’t a gambling bill, but a measure amending tax provisions in the Invest in Kids Act. The current version has already cleared the Senate and awaits a floor vote in the lower room. Unexpectedly, some anticipate House lawmakers to file a new amendment linked to sports gambling.
Sure enough, a placeholder pops up on 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 another sign that something is going to happen.
LSR sources indicate that there is excellent reason to monitor the conversation all the way up before the past gavel.
Senate Appropriations committee hearing
Sen. Link gifts 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 other mechanisms to boost state revenue. The total fiscal impact is close to $1 billion, together with sport betting representing only a very small part of the package.
It’s the fastest of hearings, within less than five minutes. 1 member asks whether the bill increases the number of slot machines for every casino licensee — it does — and that is about it.
House Executive committee hearing
A heated floor debate on a marijuana bill (which finally passed) delays the House hearing by several hours.
After the committee eventually convenes, Rep. Mike Zalewski is a surprise addition to the dais in the front of the room. Although the long-suffering proponent of IL sports betting recently stepped back from 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 favor of passage.
Without much lead time, the amendment brings 34 proponents and nine competitions (which grows to 18). Casino groups including Boyd Gaming, Penn National Gaming, and also the Illinois Casino Association remain in relation to the final language.
Members of the committee have plenty of questions, but the bulk of the discussion centers about gaming terms not related to sports betting. Rita struggles to explain some of the finer points in detail, especially as they relate to DraftKings and FanDuel. It is complicated.
The language enables online platforms, but online-only companies can’t find licensure for the first 18 months of IL sports gambling. The host indicates he built his bill this way to”give Illinois businesses a ramp” into the new industry. Rita also notes that his change will not impact the present status quo for DFS.
The committee recommends adoption of the change by an 8-5 vote, advancing the bill to the ground. There’s still a lot of work left to do before adjournment, both on sports gambling and on many of pivotal issues — such as the state budget.
Previously, in Illinois sports betting…
This year’s attempt to legalize sports gambling follows in the footsteps of the unsuccessful 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 set of stakeholders. Once more, however, nothing broadly palatable had emerged since the last 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 freedom to bet. Failure would induce Illinois to observe from the sidelines while its neighbors at Indiana and Iowa trigger their new laws.
Who can participate?
The concept of this”penalty box” is the biggest hurdle to a passage right now.
To make a long story short, a few casino collections are working to keep DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook out of the Illinois marketplace. They assert that daily fantasy sports isn’t explicitly legal in the state, and these so-called awful actors ought to be deducted from licensure for 3 years. The real motivation is, of course, a desire to eliminate competition from the two businesses working away with all the New Jersey sports betting market.
DraftKings responded by temporarily running a tv campaign pushing back on the barrier from Rush Street Gambling.
How much does it cost?
The sport leagues also have gained greater 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 the use of official league data to settle”Tier 2″ wagers. No US sports betting legislation includes an integrity fee, and Tennessee is the only one with an info mandate.
Coupled with licensing fees payable out at $25 million and taxation amounting to 20 percent of earnings, 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 a perceived conflict of interest forced him to step aside in the 11th hour.
Start-of-day intel suggests that Rep. Bob Rita is actively working to material the allowing language into the broader gaming package before lawmakers head home for the year. In what could be seen as an encouraging sign, Senate Republican Leader Sen. Dave Syverson has signed on as a co-sponsor.
There is no guarantee that bill passes, though, and perhaps it doesn’t contain sports gambling provisions even if it does.
Matt Kredell contributed to the story.

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