Illinois is one step away from sports betting after a last-ditch effort by Rep. Bob Rita dropped into place that weekend.
House lawmakers voted to approve a wide expansion of gambling within a capital financing bill on Saturday, and the Senate followed suit on Sunday. Gaming provisions within the act include a long-awaited casino in Chicago and consent for both retail and internet sports betting.
The bill now moves to the desk of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, whose recent comments make it clear he will sign it into law. The governor helped shepherd IL sports betting across the end line, wanting to drive over $200 million in additional earnings to his state.
Passage was, frankly, a remarkable accomplishment taking into consideration the lack of advancement during the first five weeks of this year. Previous hints from Rep. Mike Zalewski were turned aside, and also a perceived conflict of interest forced him to step back in the final days of session.
LSR has been keeping a close eye on the chatter this weekend and updating this page as the situation unfolded. Here is the play-by-play:
Is Sunday the afternoon for Illinois sports betting?
The Senate finally takes the floor following 4 p.m. local time. It does not take long.
Sen. Terry Link presents the terms of this amended bill, which carries a complete projected fiscal impact of $12 billion. Commendations and favorable comments from Sen. Dave Syverson, the Senate Minority Leader, appear to signal that passage is a certainty.
Opinions are brief and mostly surface-level, using a couple lawmakers poking around at narrow provisions which affect their constituents. Sen. John Curran is the only one who talks to sports gambling at any length, looking for clarification about the branding provisions for online platforms.
Link is emotional as he shuts the proceedings, representing on his 20-year effort to improve economic development from manufacturing.
The chamber applauds as the board lights up green, and also the Senate concurs with the House changes by a 46-10 vote. Just like that, the bill that will legalize sports betting in Illinois is led to the Senate.
IL sports betting bill as amended
Here’s the full text of this language:
What’s in the change?
The new vertical financing bill contains a multi-level gaming package headlined by a mega-casino in Chicago. The step also offers six categories of licensure for IL sports betting:
Master sports wagering
Management services supplier Tier two official league data supplier Central system supplier In stark terms, these classes make it possible for casinos, race tracks, and sports sites to provide sports betting — both in-person and online. The terms that concern online gambling, nevertheless, require in-person registration for the initial 18 months.
The amendment also authorizes a lottery implementation encompassing 2,500 locations in the very first year.
IL sports gambling details
The commission for a master sports betting license is calculated based on gross gaming revenue from the last year. Casinos will cover 5% of the number to provide sports gambling for four years, up to a maximum of $10 million. That cap wasn’t present in recent versions and should ease the burden on large operators like Rush Street Gaming. Rita also softened the projected tax rate down to 15% of revenue.
As you can infer from the classes, language mandating using official league info for props and in-play gambling stuck. While there is no ethics fee, the invoice does empower colleges and sports leagues to restrict the kinds of available wagers. As written, in-state collegiate sports are completely off the board in Illinois.
The amendment removes the total blackout period for online betting that snuck into an earlier version, but it does retain a modified penalty box for DraftKings and FanDuel. Daily fantasy sports companies will be permitted to compete in the sports betting arena, but just master licensees can provide online wagering for the first 18 months.
The change also generates three online-only permits costing $20 million apiece, awarded on a delay via a competitive process.
Saturday: Agreement reached for IL sports betting Around three hours to the weekend semester, we are still in a holding pattern. House lawmakers have ticked several more things off their to-do record now, including a bill that increases the minimum wages for Illinois teachers. For the time being, however, there’s nothing new to report on sports betting.
Aside from the things we are already touched on, a couple other challenges have cropped up.
Perhaps most importantly, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot publicly opposes the bill as written. Her main concern is the provision permitting sportsbooks interior of stadiums and arenas.
Mayoral resistance leads to’understanding’
Here is the statement from Mayor Lightfoot, as reported by Capitol Fax:
“I firmly support a gambling bill that directs a brand new casino and dollars to the town of Chicago. However, I oppose the inclusion of a provision that could open sports wagering in areas like Soldier Field. This type of proposal has the capacity to undermine the viability of any Chicago-based casino through the diversion of customers and revenue from a casino. Because the effect of sports wagering in stadiums has not been fully vetted or examined, I can’t support the bill in its current form and advocate the deletion of this stadium-betting provision.”
On Saturday, however, the government releases a follow-up statement indicating that the conversation is moving ahead:
“I have spoken to Mayor Lightfoot about her concerns with regards to sports betting, and we’ve collaboratively worked with the bill sponsors to make clear that the legislative intent will reveal that there are limitations on both the amount of and locations for sports gambling venues. I’m happy that we’ve reached this understanding…”
Mayor Lightfoot then drops her opposition via a different announcement:
“After productive discussions with the Governor, we’ve agreed to allow a limited quantity of gambling at sports venues subject to local oversight and control. These improvements to the gambling proposal will permit us to maximize earnings capabilities of a brand new casino for the Town of Chicago and ensure a good quality of life for our areas which may otherwise be impacted. As such, I recommend the passing of SB 690 as amended…”
Illinois House votes on sports betting Following a break for committee meetings and caucuses, Rep Bob Rita files a last amendment to the funding package. The sport gambling language appears mostly unchanged at a glimpse, though there are a lot of words to make it through. The bill is known as second reading around 6 p.m. local time and moved directly to third.
By there, it’s apparent that House lawmakers have reached a agreement to pass a number of large bills — such as this one — before the end of the evening. The floor presentation becomes something of a victory lap for Rita, with several members commending him for his broad efforts to shore up vertical infrastructure. In his closing, Rita thanks Rep. Mike Zalewski for his work.
The House votes 87-27 in favor of passing, sending the bill back into the room of origin for concurrence. The Senate matches Sunday at 3 p.m.
Friday: Last gasp for IL sports gambling prospects
Friday was frantic in the state capitol, using an assortment of key issues to hammer on the last day of the scheduled session. Lawmakers did make a dent in the pile of bills, but leaders were made to issue a bad-news bulletin extending the work week through Sunday.
Although sports gambling remains unresolved, a significant effort has surfaced.
Rep. Robert Rita captured the reins on Friday, borrowing in the frame of Rep. Mike Zalewski to cobble together a compromise bill. His campaign ran from daylight on the House floor, but the bonus weekend of lawmaking means there is still hope for sports gambling this year.
Even though there’s a momentum, failure to cast a vote on Friday makes the job a little bit taller. Any bills considered from here on out require a 3/5ths supermajority to passa brink which could simply be out of reach.
Here’s a chronological timeline of the day’s events:
A new vehicle for IL sports gambling Lawmakers begin the day behind closed doors, working to finalize the frame for IL sports betting. Most presume S 516 will serve as the vehicle, a Chicago casino bill that appears to be an appropriate target for the enabling language. A midday curveball, however, shifts the focus.
Joe Ostrowski is a Chicago radio anchor who has had his ear to the floor this week, and he’s the first to reveal that everyone is looking in the incorrect location.
Some optimism in Springfield for sport betting.
SB 690 should shed very soon.
7:22 PM – May 31, 2019
Twitter Ads info and solitude Watch Joe Ostrowski’s additional Tweets
The invoice he cites (S 690) is not a gaming bill, but a step amending tax provisions at the Invest in Kids Act. The current version has already cleared the Senate and awaits a floor vote in the lower chamber. Unexpectedly, some expect House lawmakers to submit a new amendment related to sports betting.
Sure enough, a placeholder pops upon the docket, with a hearing in the House Executive committee scheduled for 1:30 p.m. local time. A change of sponsor to Sen. Terry Link provides an additional indication that something is going to take place.
LSR sources indicate that there is good reason to monitor the dialogue all the way up until the last gavel.
Senate Appropriations committee hearing
Sen. Link presents the amended bill to the committee, and… boy, is there a lot in it.
In addition to the gambling provisions, it also rolls taxes for smokes, parking, video lottery terminals, and a number of other mechanisms to boost state revenue. The overall fiscal impact is close to $1 billion, together with sports gambling representing only a very small part of the package.
It is the quickest of hearings, within under five minutes. One member asks whether or not the bill raises the amount of slot machines for each casino licensee — it will — and that is about it.
House Executive committee hearing
A heated floor debate on a marijuana bill (which ultimately passed) delays the House hearing by several hours.
When the committee eventually convenes, Rep. Mike Zalewski is a surprise addition to the dais in the front of the room. Although the long-suffering proponent of IL sports gambling recently stepped back in the spotlight, Rita’s bill lists him as the primary House sponsor. The committee replacements Zalewski in as a temporary member to cast a vote in favor of passage.
Without much lead time, the change brings 34 proponents and nine competitions (which grows to 18). Casino groups such as Boyd Gaming, Penn National Gaming, and also the Illinois Casino Association remain opposed to the final language.
Members of this committee have loads of questions, however, the bulk of the conversation centers about gaming terms not related to sports betting. Rita struggles to explain some of the finer points in detail, particularly as they relate to DraftKings and FanDuel. It is complicated.
The language allows online platforms, but online-only companies can’t seek licensure for the first 18 weeks of IL sports betting. The sponsor indicates he built his bill that way to”provide Illinois companies a ramp” to the new sector. Rita also notes that his change will not impact the existing status quo for DFS.
The committee advocates adoption of this change with an 8-5 vote, progressing the bill to the floor. There is still a lot of work left to do prior to adjournment, both on sports gambling and on a number of critical issues — including the state budget.
Formerly, in Illinois sports gambling…
This year’s attempt to legalize sports gambling follows in the footsteps of this failed 2018 effort.
As it did last year, work began early in 2019. Lawmakers cobbled together a variety of potential frameworks, each catering to a particular group of stakeholders. Yet again, however, nothing widely palatable had emerged since the past couple of hours of session ticked off the clock.
The proposed budget from Gov. J.B. Pritzker includes $217 million in earnings from sports betting, so there is more at stake than just the liberty to bet. Failure would induce Illinois to observe from the sidelines while its neighbors in Indiana and Iowa activate their new laws.
Who will participate?
The notion of the”penalty box” is the biggest barrier to some passing right now.
To make a long story short, a few casino collections are working to keep DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook from the Illinois marketplace. They argue that daily fantasy sports isn’t explicitly lawful in the state, and these so-called bad actors ought to be deducted from licensure for three decades. The real motivation is, clearly, a desire to get rid of competition from both companies running away together with the New Jersey sports gambling market.
DraftKings responded by briefly running a television campaign pushing back to the obstruction from Rush Street Gambling.
How much does it cost?
The sports leagues have also gained more leverage with Illinois lawmakers than they have elsewhere in the country.
Most previous tips for IL sports gambling required payment of a ethics fee and using official league data to repay”Tier 2″ wagers. No US sports betting legislation comprises a ethics fee, and Tennessee is the only one with an info mandate.
Coupled with licensing fees topping out at $25 million and taxes amounting to 20% of revenue, these operational burdens can stand between the bill and the end line.
Who’s in charge?
Rep. Mike Zalewski carried the baton all spring, but a lack of advancement and also a perceived conflict of interest forced him to step aside in the 11th hour.
Start-of-day intel indicates that Rep. Bob Rita is actively working to stuff the enabling language into the broader gambling package before lawmakers head home for the year. In what could be seen as a reassuring sign, Senate Republican Leader Sen. Dave Syverson has signed on as a co-sponsor.
There is no guarantee that bill moves, however, and it may not include sports gambling provisions even if it does.
Matt Kredell contributed to this story.
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