Illinois sports betting bill coming down to the wire
Lawmakers are still not able to reach a consensus on the activity
It’s looking more and more like Illinois residents are going to have to wait another year to participate in sports gambling. This also means that the state will have to wait another year to correct its $3-billion budget deficit. Lawmakers are still haggling over certain provisions in the bill and everything looks like it will come down to a single, last-ditch amendment if the bill is to be approved in the current session.
Representative Mike Zalewski has introduced an amendment that includes the state lottery, would require sports gambling to use official league date for in-play wagers and would lower the tax rate and fees presented in the previous two amendments. Zalewski is the chair of the Revenue and Finance Committee, so his position gives him a little more weight to help influence certain legislation.
As far as sports gambling legislation goes, Illinois has been taking the longest on approving the bill. A number of changes and amendments have been introduced over the past eight months that the activity has been discussed. Everyone thought the state was close to green-lighting sports gambling in April before Representative Bob Rita threw a ”bad actor” clause into the works that gummed everything up. That clause effectively eliminated the chance of FanDuel or DraftKings from being able to continue their daily fantasy sports operations in the state, and has caused a significant rift in the legislative cohesion.
Zalewski states of the bad actor saga, “This issue consumes all the oxygen related to sports betting right now. We know we need to make a decision on whether to include a penalty box or not. We still haven’t reached a consensus way to move forward on this.”
Today is May 22. The Illinois legislation will adjourn in ten days – not much time to make any progress. There has been virtually no indication from the Senate if it would approve the bill, but Zalewski is remaining positive. He’s going to try to fast-track the bill in hopes to get it approved and to the governor’s desk before lawmakers take their break.