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

Illinois is one step away from sports betting after a last-ditch effort by Rep. Bob Rita fell into place this weekend.
House lawmakers voted to approve a broad expansion of gaming within a capital financing bill on Saturday, and the Senate followed suit on Sunday. Gambling provisions within the act include a long-awaited casino in Chicago and consent for both retail and online sports gambling.
The bill goes to the desk of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, whose current comments make it clear he will sign it into law. The governor helped shepherd IL sports gambling across the finish line, seeking to drive more than $200 million in extra earnings to his state.
Passage was, honestly, a remarkable feat considering the lack of advancement during the first five weeks of this year. Previous hints from Rep. Mike Zalewski were turned aside, and a perceived conflict of interest forced him to step back in the last days of session.
LSR continues to be keeping a close watch on the chatter this weekend and upgrading this page as the situation unfolded. Here is the play-by-play:
Is Sunday the afternoon for Illinois sports gambling?
The Senate eventually 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 financial impact of $12 billion. Commendations and favorable comments from Sen. Dave Syverson, the Senate Minority Leader, seem to indicate that passing is a certainty.
Opinions are brief and mostly surface-level, using a few lawmakers poking around at narrow provisions that affect their constituents. Sen. John Curran is the only one who speaks to sports betting at any length, seeking clarification about the branding provisions for online platforms.
Link is emotional as he closes the proceedings, representing on his 20-year effort to improve 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 that, the bill that will legalize sports gambling in Illinois is headed to the governor.
IL sports gambling bill as amended
Here is the full text of the language:
What is in the amendment?
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 provider Tier 2 official league info supplier Central system supplier In stark terms, these categories allow casinos, race tracks, and sports venues to offer sports betting — both in-person and on the internet. The terms that concern online betting, nevertheless, require in-person enrollment for the initial 18 months.
The amendment also authorizes a lottery implementation encompassing 2,500 locations in the very first year.
IL sports betting details
The fee for a master sports gambling license is calculated based on gross gaming revenue from the previous calendar year. Casinos will pay 5 percent of the number to provide sports betting for four years, up to a maximum of $10 million. That cap was not present in recent versions and should ease the load on big 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 categories, language mandating using official league info for props and in-play betting stuck. While there is absolutely no ethics fee, the invoice will not enable colleges and sports leagues to limit the kinds of available wagers. As composed, weatherproof collegiate sports are off the plank in Illinois.
The amendment removes the overall blackout period for online gambling that snuck into an earlier version, but it does keep a modified penalty box for DraftKings and FanDuel. Daily fantasy sports businesses will be allowed to compete at the sports betting arena, but only master licensees can offer online wagering for the initial 18 months.
The change also generates three online-only permits costing $20 million apiece, given on a delay by means of a competitive process.
Saturday: Agreement reached for IL sports gambling Around three hours into the weekend session, we are still in a holding pattern. House lawmakers have ticked several more items off their to-do record today, including a bill that raises the minimum salary for Illinois teachers. For the time being, however, there’s nothing new to report on sports betting.
Apart from the things we’re already touched , a few other hurdles have cropped up.
Perhaps most importantly, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot publicly opposes the bill as written. Her main concern is that the provision permitting sportsbooks inside of stadiums and arenas.
Mayoral opposition leads to’comprehension’
Here is the statement from Mayor Lightfoot, as mentioned by Capitol Fax:
“I firmly support a gambling bill that directs a brand new casino and dollars to the town of Chicago. But, I oppose the addition of a provision which could open up sports wagering in venues like Soldier Field. Such a proposal has the potential to undermine the viability of any Chicago-based casino via the recreation of customers and revenue from a casino. Since the impact of sports wagering in stadiums has not been completely vetted or analyzed, I can’t support the bill in its current form and advocate the deletion of this stadium-betting provision”
On Saturday, but the governor releases a follow-up statement indicating that the dialogue is still moving forward:
“I have spoken to Mayor Lightfoot concerning her issues with respect to sports betting, and we’ve reluctantly worked together with the bill sponsors to make clear that the legislative purpose will reveal that there are limitations on both the number of and places for sports gambling venues. I’m pleased that we’ve attained this understanding…”
Mayor Lightfoot subsequently drops her resistance via a different statement:
“After productive talks with the Governor, we have agreed to allow a limited amount of gambling at sports venues subject to local control and oversight. These improvements to the gaming proposition will permit us to maximize earnings capabilities of a new casino to the Town of Chicago and guarantee a good quality of life for our areas which may otherwise be impacted. As such, I urge the passing of SB 690 as amended…”
Illinois House votes on sports gambling After a break for committee meetings and caucuses, Rep Bob Rita files a final amendment to the financing package. The sports gambling language looks mostly unchanged in a glance, although there are a great deal of words to make it through. The bill is called for second reading about 6 p.m. local time and proceeded straight to third.
By that point, it is evident that House lawmakers have reached an agreement to pass quite a few big bills — including this one — until the end of the night. The floor demonstration becomes something of a victory lap for Rita, with different associates commending him for his broad efforts to shore up vertical infrastructure. In his closing, Rita thanks Rep. Mike Zalewski for his job.
The House votes 87-27 in favor of passing, sending the bill back into 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, using a myriad of important 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 extending the work week through Sunday.
Although sports gambling remains stagnant, a substantial effort has materialized.
Rep. Robert Rita captured the reins on Friday, borrowing from the frame 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’s still hope for sports betting this season.
Even though there is a momentum, failure to cast a vote on Friday makes the job a little bit taller. Any invoices considered from here out there demand a 3/5ths supermajority to passa brink that may just be out of reach.
Here’s a chronological timeline of this day’s events:
A brand new automobile for IL sports gambling Lawmakers begin the day behind closed doors, working to finalize the frame for IL sports betting. Most presume 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’s had his ear to the floor nowadays, and he’s the first to reveal that everybody is looking in the incorrect place.
Joe Ostrowski
Some optimism in Springfield for sport gambling.
SB 690 should drop very soon.
7:22 PM – May 31, 2019
Twitter Ads information and solitude See Joe Ostrowski’s additional Tweets
The invoice he references (S 690) isn’t a gambling 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 at the lower chamber. Unexpectedly, some expect House lawmakers to file a new amendment linked to sports betting.
Sure enough, a placeholder pops upon the docket, with a hearing at the House Executive committee scheduled for 1:30 p.m. local time. A change of sponsor to Sen. Terry Link provides another indication that something is going to take place.
LSR sources suggest that there’s good reason to track the dialogue all the way up until the last 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 smokes, parking, video lottery terminals, and a number of different mechanisms to boost state revenue. The total fiscal impact is near $1 billion, with sport betting representing only a tiny part of the bundle.
It is the quickest of hearings, within less than five minutes. 1 member inquires whether or not the bill raises the number of slot machines for each casino licensee — it will — and that’s about it.
House Executive committee hearing
A heated floor debate on a marijuana bill (which finally passed) delays the home 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 favor of passing.
Without much lead time, the amendment attracts 34 proponents and nine competitions (which grows to 18). Casino groups such as Boyd Gaming, Penn National Gaming, and the Illinois Casino Association remain opposed to this final language.
Members of this committee have plenty of questions, however, the bulk of the discussion centers about gambling terms not related to sports betting. Rita struggles to describe some of the finer points in detail, especially as they relate to DraftKings and FanDuel. It’s complex.
The language allows online platforms, but online-only firms can not find licensure for the first 18 months of IL sports gambling. The sponsor indicates he built his bill that way to”give Illinois businesses a ramp” to the new industry. Rita also notes that his amendment will not affect the existing status quo for DFS.
The committee recommends adoption of this amendment with an 8-5 vote, progressing the bill to the ground. There is still a lot of work left to do prior to adjournment, equally on sports gambling and on a number of critical issues — including the state budget.
Formerly, in Illinois sports gambling…
This year’s effort to legalize sports betting follows in the footsteps of the unsuccessful 2018 effort.
As it did this past year, work started early in 2019. Lawmakers cobbled together a variety of possible frameworks, each catering to a particular group of stakeholders. Yet more, however, nothing broadly palatable had emerged since the last couple of hours of session ticked off the clock.
The proposed budget from Gov. J.B. Pritzker includes $217 million in revenue from sports gambling, so there’s more at stake than just the freedom to bet. Failure would force Illinois to watch from the sidelines while its neighbors at Indiana and Iowa trigger their new laws.
Who will participate?
The concept of this”penalty box” is the biggest hurdle to a passing right now.
To make a long story short, some casino groups are working to keep DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook out of the Illinois marketplace. They argue that daily fantasy sports is not explicitly lawful in the country, and these so-called awful actors should be excluded from licensure for three years. The actual motivation is, of course, a desire to eliminate competition in both companies running away together with all the New Jersey sports gambling market.
DraftKings responded by temporarily running a tv campaign pushing back on the barrier from Rush Street Gaming.
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 betting required payment of a ethics fee and the use of official league information to repay”Tier 2″ wagers. No US sports gambling legislation comprises a ethics fee, and Tennessee is the only one that has an info mandate.
Coupled with licensing prices topping out at $25 million and taxation amounting to 20 percent of revenue, these operational burdens may stand between the invoice and the end line.
Who is in charge?
Rep. Mike Zalewski carried the baton all spring, however, 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 wider gaming package before lawmakers head home for the year. In what might be regarded as an encouraging sign, Senate Republican Leader Sen. Dave Syverson has signed on as a co-sponsor.
There is no warranty that bill moves, however, and it may not contain sports gambling provisions even if it does.
Matt Kredell contributed to this story.

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