Bills with DFS, iGaming slated for committee meeting this weekend in Illinois

Illinois Online Gambling, Fantasy Sports Bills Stir To Life During Special Session

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The prospects of Illinois’ legislature passing a bill that would legalize and regulate online gambling and daily fantasy sports got a boost as lawmakers head back to the state capitol for a special session.

Illinois: On your mark…

The Senate passed an iGaming and DFS bill — H 479 — at the end of May. But the House did not immediately take up the legislation, leaving it in limbo until lawmakers planned to come back to Springfield in June.

A special session called by Gov. Bruce Rauner starts on Wednesday, during which lawmakers will attempt to come to an agreement on a state budget.

One possible moving part in all of that is revenue from the gaming bill. That was evidenced by the fact that the bill has not been mothballed by the House as the chamber gears back up.

iGaming, DFS still alive

On Tuesday, the bill saw some procedural action that bodes well for its prospects — or at least keeps it alive for the time being.

The House referred the bill to that body’s Executive Committee. Soon thereafter, a committee meeting was scheduled for this Saturday. Also scheduled for consideration is a bill with just DFS, and no provisions for iGaming: S 1531.

Whether either bill will actually come up for a vote this weekend is unknown, however.

What we do know: If someone in a position of power in the House wanted either bill to collect dust and see no action, that’s exactly what they would do.

That the bills have seen even some procedural momentum is likely indicative of the idea that the legislative machinery in Illinois mulling what to do with the two bills.

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If Illinois is looking for revenue…

No matter what happens in Illinois, there’s one certainty: Online gambling can provide a sizable amount of revenue for the state in terms of taxes. DFS, on the other hand, would provide some revenue, but a small fraction of what iGaming could generate.

It’s not clear if either of the the bills are part of the larger negotiations in an attempt to come to consensus on the budget. But if they are, only one of the bills — the iGaming/DFS hybrid — would be able to help in a meaningful way.

- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner. He has played poker recreationally for his entire adult life and has written about poker since 2008.
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