Illinois Sports Betting Legislation Could See Books At Pro Venues
Sports betting could soon "take place at the homes of the White Sox, the Bears, the Bulls and the Cubs depending on which details emerge in a final bill to legalize the practice in Illinois," according to Grant Morgan of the CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS. Illinois state Rep. Michael Zalewski has "championed this year's effort to bring sports wagering to the state, and several different plans for doing so have been filed in recent months." Three of those plans would "allow betting operations to set up wagering sites at or within five blocks of Guaranteed Rate Field, Soldier Field, the United Center and Wrigley Field, if the teams that play there approve." One such plan would "make betting operators pay" a 0.25% royalty fee to the sports leagues and would "require the use of official league data." The other two plans "do not include royalty fees" (CAPITOLNEWSILLINOIS.com, 5/14).
WHERE THEY STAND: In Chicago, Greg Hinz wrote this latest sports betting plan "has the support" of the Blackhawks and Bulls, who own the United Center. Sources said that the NBA, MLB and their owners have been the "most involved, hoping at a minimum to keep their options open as wagering moves to the internet." Zalewski said that he is "'still working' on details of the project and the overall bill in hopes of calling it for a House vote" as early as next week. Hinz noted it is "still unclear how the provision would apply" to the publicly-owned Guaranteed Rate Field and Soldier Field. The proposal is "receiving a cool response from at least one key figure" in Chicago, Alderman Tom Tunney, who "repeatedly has clashed with Cubs ownership over developments" at and near Wrigley Field (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 5/14).