Illinois Will Consider Expanded Gaming Legislation After November Election
Illinois State Representative Bob Rita has been the lead person for the House Democrats’ on all gaming related issues for the last 5 years. While multiple states across the country push forward gaming regulation in light of the sports betting ban being overturned by the Supreme Court, Illinois will have to wait a bit longer.
Rita plans to come up with expanded legislation for gaming following the upcoming election in November 2018. In the past, Rita has proposed several bills including an amendment to Senate Bill 7 that aimed to combine new casinos, slot machines, and a few other concepts. Unfortunately, the legislative session ended before the bill could get enough support. He definitely wants to see gaming expansion and he intends on bringing two House committees together to conduct legislative hearings on the matter.
Leading two House subcommittees, Rita plans on picking it up where he left off when the last session concluded at the end of May. They will be taking a close look at such issues as online casinos, online poker, and fantasy sports which have been on the legislature’s radar in recent years. They will also be focusing on the trendy topic of sports betting. The Illinois Senate passed a bill to have online casinos and online poker legalized in 2017 but the House failed to vote on it. The committees are expected to meet on August 22nd in Chicago and then again on October 3rd in Springfield.
Expanded Gaming Offers Lucrative Opportunities
In a statement, Rita said
As I have said from the beginning in working on this issue, gaming expansion presents many tremendous opportunities to create revenue, jobs and economic growth in Illinois. The gaming landscape has changed significantly since I took on this issue five years ago, and 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
There has been re talk of opening a new riverboat Casino in Danville and local officials believe that such a project would create about 600 construction jobs and up to 800 permanent jobs on top of an estimated $5 million a year in revenue.
While opponents of expanded gambling will almost certainly come out of the woodwork in the coming months, it looks like Mr. Rita is doing his homework and will be well-prepared to push forward after the elections.