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Volume 26 No. 206
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Illinois Weighs Sports Betting, Could Include Integrity Fees For Leagues

Illinois state lawmakers are "wrangling over what legal sports betting would look like," as Gov. J.B. Pritzker is "counting on" $200M in sports betting licensing revenue to help fill a $3.2B hole in the state budget, according to Petrella & Pearson of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Lawmakers have a "lengthy agenda waiting for them" when they return from break on April 30. All of Chicago's "major franchises -- with the exception, so far, of the Bears -- are backing a plan" pushed by MLB, the NBA and the PGA Tour that would "give professional leagues 25 cents of every $100 bet on their sports in the state." The leagues said that the fee would be "fair compensation for the millions of dollars generated by wagering on their games." However, opponents of the proposal, including casinos and horse tracks that would have to pay upward of $10M for each sportsbook license, said that the leagues "should be left to negotiate with sportsbook operators if they want a cut." Which side "prevails could come down to who has more sway" with lawmakers. If Illinois "cuts the leagues in, it would be the first state to do so." In addition to a "fee on every wager place, the leagues want to have a say in what types of bets are allowed." So far, legal sports betting is "proving to be less lucrative than many states anticipated" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/21).