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Volume 26 No. 207
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Illinois Passes Bill To Expand In-State Gambling, Legalize Sports Betting

The Illinois state Senate voted to "embark upon a massive statewide gambling expansion that included a Chicago casino and legalized sports betting," according to a front-page piece by Munks & Pearson of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. It was the "prospect of a large-scale construction program that helped push passage of a massive expansion of gambling in the state after more than a decade of unsuccessful efforts to add casinos to Chicago and elsewhere." The gambling bill passed yesterday will "allow for a Chicago casino and legal sports betting in Illinois, and slot machines at both city airports." It also will "allow smaller casinos in the south suburbs, Waukegan, Rockford, Danville and Williamson County." Slot machines also will be "authorized for horse race tracks, and casinos and tracks could host sports betting." The proposed Chicago casino will be "privately owned," and the city will "get one-third of all tax revenue from it." The casino will have "up to 4,000 gambling positions -- slot machines or seats at a gaming table" -- while other new and current casinos can "increase their gambling positions from 1,200 to 2,000." For sports betting, licenses will "go to all existing and newly authorized casinos as well as horse racetracks and sports venues, with license fees ranging" from $3.2-10M (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/3).

BY THE NUMBERS: In Chicago, Dan Santaromita noted betting on Illinois college teams will be "banned as part of the proposal," and sports betting will be taxed at 15%. It is "not clear" when the bill will take effect (NBCSPORTSCHICAGO.com, 6/2). Also in Chicago, Grant Morgan noted sports facilities that seat more than 17,000 people -- such as Wrigley Field or United Center -- will also be "eligible to buy sports betting licenses under the bill" (CAPITOLNEWSILLINOIS.com, 6/2). The CHICAGO SUN-TIMES' Hinton & Seidel note the legislation "finally delivers on a Chicago casino that promises to dwarf all others in the state." Still, it is "not clear where the Chicago casino would be built" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 6/3). The Chicago DAILY HERALD's Barry Rozner writes the "notion that this will save -- or revive -- Illinois horse racing is at best naive." For companies like DraftKings and FanDuel, there will be "three online-only licenses and they won't be sold for 18 months, an absurd prospect." As for "who gets to purchase them, well, that will be entertaining" (Chicago DAILY HERALD, 6/3).