The second chapter on Illinois sports betting and possible online casino expansion is set to take place Wednesday at the state capitol.
Here is an unofficial list of speakers for Wednesdays hearing in Springfield:
It has been quite the journey for Senate Bill 7, which has been kicking around since early 2017. Introduced by Rita, the legislation has morphed into a massive gambling expansion bill akin to a 2017 law passed in Pennsylvania.
SB 7 was referred to the Rules Committee in May.
In August, lawmakers gathered in Chicago to hear testimony from gambling stakeholders on an amendment to SB 7. Amendment 3 focused on substantial tax breaks for casinos and slots/table games at the states three racetracks.
What remains to be known is if a gambling expansion bill is something lawmakers want to push through following the November elections.
All signs all point to yes. But with a large turnover expected in the state legislature and possibly a new governor, the idea remains up in the air.
The US Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act has put the topic of gambling expansion at the doorstep of several states across the country.
Midwest states including neighboring Indiana, Iowa and Missouri all plan on discussing and possibly passing sports betting legislation in 2019.
In a statement, Rita said gaming expansion presents a number of opportunities including, new streams of revenue, job creation and economic growth for the state.
“The gaming landscape has changed significantly,” Rita said. “I want to use these hearings to understand how those changes present new opportunities for us to put the right package together as we look to meet budget needs and provide a spark for our economy.”
Jim Ryan, CEO of Pala Interactive and a member of the nonprofit iDEA Growth, submitted a letter this week calling on lawmakers to not overlook the economic benefits of gambling expansion.
Ryan wrote mobile wagering is “the future of the industry” and sports wagering is already taking place on “unregulated platforms.”
“Illinois needs to make it legal and regulated. Voting for anything less is a lost opportunity for the state’s economy,” Ryan wrote.