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

Illinois is one step away from sports gambling after a last-ditch campaign by Rep. Bob Rita dropped into place that weekend.
House lawmakers voted to approve a wide expansion of gaming inside a funding financing bill on Saturday, and the Senate followed suit on Sunday. Gaming provisions within the act include a long-awaited casino in Chicago and authorization for both retail and online sports gambling.
The bill goes to the desk of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, whose current remarks 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 extra earnings to his state.
Passage was, frankly, a remarkable feat considering the absence of advancement through the first five months of the year. Previous proposals from Rep. Mike Zalewski were all turned aside, and a perceived conflict of interest forced him to step back at the last days of session.
LSR has been keeping a close watch on the chatter this weekend and updating this page as the situation unfolded. Here’s the play-by-play:
Is Sunday the afternoon for Illinois sports betting?
The Senate eventually takes the floor following 4 p.m. local time. It doesn’t take long.
Sen. Terry Link presents the terms of this amended bill, which includes a complete projected fiscal impact of $12 billion. Commendations and favorable comments from Sen. Dave Syverson, the Senate Minority Leader, appear to signal that passage is a certainty.
Opinions are brief and mostly surface-level, with a couple lawmakers lugging around in narrow provisions that affect their components. Sen. John Curran is the only person who speaks to sports betting at any given length, seeking clarification about the branding provisions for online platforms.
Link is emotional as he shuts the event, reflecting on his 20-year effort to increase economic growth from manufacturing.
The room applauds as the board lights up green, and also the Senate concurs with the House changes with a 46-10 vote. Just like that, the bill that will legalize sports gambling in Illinois is headed to the governor.
IL sports betting bill as amended
Here’s the Complete text of this language:
What’s in the amendment?
The new vertical financing bill includes a multi-level gaming package headlined by a mega-casino in Chicago. The measure also offers six categories of licensure for IL sports betting:
Master sports wagering
Management services supplier Tier two official league info provider Central system provider In stark terms, these classes allow casinos, race tracks, and sports sites to provide sports gambling — equally in-person and online. The terms that concern online gambling, 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 betting license is calculated based on gross gaming revenue from the last calendar year. Casinos will cover 5% of the number to offer sports gambling for four years, up to a max of $10 million. That cap wasn’t present in recent models and should ease the burden on large operators like 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 the use of official league info for props and in-play betting stuck. Even though there’s no integrity fee, the invoice will not enable colleges and sports leagues to restrict the kinds of accessible wagers. As composed, weatherproof collegiate sports are off the plank in Illinois.
The change removes the total blackout period for internet gambling that snuck into a previous version, but it will keep a modified penalty box for DraftKings and FanDuel. Daily fantasy sports businesses will be permitted to compete at the sports gambling arena, but just master licensees can provide online wagering for the first 18 months.
The change also creates three online-only permits costing $20 million apiece, awarded on a delay by means of a competitive process.
Saturday: Agreement reached for IL sports betting About three hours into the weekend session, we’re still in a holding pattern. House lawmakers have ticked several more things off their to-do list today, such as a bill that increases the minimum salary for Illinois teachers. For the time being, though, there’s nothing new to report online sports gambling.
Aside from the things we are already touched on, a couple other hurdles have cropped up.
Perhaps most importantly, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot publicly opposes the bill as written. Her principal concern is the provision permitting sportsbooks inside of stadiums and arenas.
Mayoral resistance leads to’comprehension’
Here is the announcement from Mayor Lightfoot, as reported by Capitol Fax:
“I firmly support a gaming bill that directs a brand new casino and dollars to the town of Chicago. But, I oppose the inclusion of a provision that could open up sports wagering in venues like Soldier Field. This type of proposal has the capacity to undermine the viability of any Chicago-based casino through the recreation of consumers and revenue from a casino. Because the impact of sports wagering in stadiums hasn’t been fully assessed or analyzed, I can’t support the bill in its present form and urge the deletion of the stadium-betting provision”
On Saturday, but the governor releases a follow-up statement indicating that the conversation is still moving ahead:
“I’ve spoken to Mayor Lightfoot about her issues with respect to sports gambling, and we have collaboratively worked with the bill sponsors to make clear that the legislative purpose will reveal that there are limits on both the amount of and locations for sports gambling venues. I’m happy that we have attained this understanding…”
Mayor Lightfoot subsequently drops her opposition via another statement:
“After productive discussions with the Governor, we’ve agreed to allow a limited amount of gambling at sports venues subject to local control and oversight. These enhancements to the gaming proposal will allow us to maximize revenue capabilities of a new casino to the City of Chicago and ensure a good quality of life for our areas that might otherwise be impacted. Therefore, I recommend the passage of SB 690 as amended…”
Illinois House votes on sports gambling After a break for committee meetings and caucuses, Rep Bob Rita documents a final amendment to the financing package. The sports betting language looks mostly unchanged in a glimpse, though there are a great deal of words to make it through. The bill is called for second reading around 6 p.m. local time and proceeded straight to third.
By that point, it’s evident that House lawmakers have reached a agreement to pass quite a few large bills — such as this one — before the end of the night. The ground 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 because of 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 at 3 p.m.
Friday: Last gasp for IL sports gambling prospects
Friday was frantic in the state capitol, with an assortment of key issues to hammer out on the final day of the scheduled session. Lawmakers did create a dent in the pile of bills, but leaders had been forced to issue a bad-news bulletin extending the work week during Sunday.
Although sports betting remains stagnant, a substantial effort has surfaced.
Rep. Robert Rita grabbed the reins on Friday, borrowing from the framework of Rep. Mike Zalewski to cobble together a compromise bill. His campaign ran out of daylight on the House floor, however, the bonus weekend of lawmaking means there is still hope for sports gambling this year.
While there’s a momentum, failure to cast a vote on Friday makes the task just a little bit taller. Any bills 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 new automobile for IL sports gambling Lawmakers start the day behind closed doors, working to finalize the framework for IL sports betting. Most assume S 516 will serve as the vehicle, a Chicago casino invoice that seems to be an appropriate target for the empowering 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 incorrect place.
Joe Ostrowski
Some optimism in Springfield for sports betting.
SB 690 should shed very soon.
7:22 PM – May 31, 2019
Twitter Ads information and privacy See Joe Ostrowski’s additional Tweets
The invoice he cites (S 690) isn’t a gaming bill, but a step amending tax provisions in the Invest in Kids Act. The current version has cleared the Senate and awaits a floor vote at the lower room. Unexpectedly, some anticipate House lawmakers to submit a new amendment related to sports gambling.
Sure enough, a placeholder pops up on 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 an additional indication that something is about to happen.
LSR sources indicate that there is excellent reason to monitor the conversation all the way up before the last gavel.
Senate Appropriations committee hearing
Sen. Link gifts the amended bill to the committee, and… boy, is there a lot in it.
In addition to the gaming provisions, it also rolls taxes for smokes, parking, video lottery terminals, and a number of other mechanisms to increase state revenue. The total fiscal impact is near $1 billion, together with sport betting representing only a tiny component of the package.
It’s the quickest of hearings, within less than five minutes. 1 member asks whether or not the bill increases the amount of slot machines for every casino licensee — it does — and that’s about it.
House Executive committee hearing
A heated floor debate on a marijuana bill (which ultimately passed) delays the home hearing by many hours.
After the committee eventually convenes, Rep. Mike Zalewski is a surprise addition to the dais at the front of the room. Even though the long-suffering proponent of IL sports gambling recently stepped back from the spotlight, Rita’s bill lists him as the primary House sponsor. The committee substitutes Zalewski in as a temporary member to cast a vote in favor of passing.
Without much lead time, the change attracts 34 proponents and nine opponents (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 this committee have plenty of questions, but the bulk of the conversation centers around 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 is complex.
The language enables online platforms, but online-only companies can’t find licensure for the first 18 months of IL sports gambling. The sponsor indicates he constructed his bill that way to”provide Illinois businesses a ramp” into the new sector. Rita also notes that his change will not impact the present status quo for DFS.
The committee advocates adoption of this change with an 8-5 vote, progressing the bill to the ground. There is still a great deal of work left to do before adjournment, equally on sports betting and on many of critical issues — such as the state funding.
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 this past year, work began early in 2019. Lawmakers cobbled together many different potential frameworks, each catering to a particular group of stakeholders. Once again, though, nothing broadly palatable had emerged as the last few hours of session ticked off the clock.
The proposed budget from Gov. J.B. Pritzker includes $217 million in revenue from sports betting, so there’s more at stake than just the liberty to bet. Failure would force Illinois to watch from the sidelines while its neighbors in Indiana and Iowa activate their new laws.
Who will participate?
The concept of this”penalty box” is the biggest barrier to some passing right now.
To make a long story short, a few casino groups are working to maintain DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook out of 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 deducted from licensure for 3 decades. The actual motivation is, clearly, that a desire to get rid of competition from both companies working away with the New Jersey sports betting market.
DraftKings responded by temporarily running a tv campaign pushing back to the obstruction from Rush Street Gambling.
How much will it cost?
The sports leagues have also gained more leverage with Illinois lawmakers than they have elsewhere in the country.
Most previous proposals for IL sports betting required payment of an integrity fee and the use of official league data to settle”Tier 2″ wagers. No US sports betting law includes a ethics fee, and Tennessee is the only one with a data mandate.
Coupled with licensing fees topping out at $25 million and taxes amounting to 20% of revenue, these operational burdens can stand between the invoice and the finish 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 enabling language into the broader gambling package before lawmakers head home for the year. In what could be regarded as a reassuring sign, Senate Republican Leader Sen. Dave Syverson has signed on as a co-sponsor.
There is no guarantee that bill moves, though, and perhaps it doesn’t contain sports gambling provisions even when it really does.
Matt Kredell contributed to this story.

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