Sportsbook pay per head operators are expecting lawmakers to legalize Illinois sports betting in spring. In fact, it will be part of a bigger gambling expansion deal that includes more options in horse tracks and new casino licenses.
Advocates of Illinois sports betting has the support of Governor J.B. Pritzker. He wants to use the revenue from sports wagering to fund government initiatives. In addition, he is expecting more than $200 million from sports betting in its first year.
Lawmakers are adjourning their session on May 31. However, they realized they need to resolve other issues before they get support for their sports betting bill. To get the gambling expansion bill passed, they need to prioritize sports betting to get to the governor’s good side.
Illinois Sports Betting and other Issues
Aside from sports betting, there are other gambling issues that Illinois wants to pass legislation. Rockford, Waukegan, Chicago, and other southern and central Illinois communities want casinos. In addition, horse tracks want to have table games and slot machines according to a statement made to pay per head demo providers.
However, existing casinos don’t want more competition. They are still suffering from the loss of revenue due to legal video gambling at restaurants and bars. Allowing table games and slots in horse tracks will greatly affect their revenues.
State Representative Mike Zalewski is planning to file a revised sports wagering bill next week. Also, he acknowledged that there are lawmakers who want gambling expansion and sports betting to be tackled at the same time.
Chicago wants to have a city-owned casino but the previous governor vetoed bills that would have allowed it. Outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel supports sports betting if the city gets a casino. Pay per head operators see the governor as their ally. They hope the bill opens the market to independent players, especially small business owners.