On Wednesday, a House Gaming Subcommittee hearing took place in Chicago with members of the Illinois legislature. During the meeting, stakeholders were on hand to discuss Senate Bill 7, a measure sponsored by Representative Bob Rita. The bill would see the state offer slots and table games at the racetracks of the state as well as give tax breaks to the operating casino. With the hearing over, the state is now ready to discuss online gaming and sports betting beginning in October.
During the meeting, the Jumer’s Casino and Hotel general manager and president, Mark Bennett, was in attendance. Bennett stated that Jumer’s was ready to support video gaming terminals for race tracks, but would like to see the games only offered during live race days. The casino cannot show their support for gaming at dormant tracks.
Now that the hearing has taken place and stakeholders have had their say, the gaming committee will be hosting a join hearing with the Revenue and Finance Subcommittee. This meeting will take place at the state capitol on the 17th of October. The goal of this meeting will be to discuss sports betting for the state and online options.
According to Illinois Casino Gaming Association executive director, Tom Swoik, residents in the state do not have a legal venue that is safe where they can take part in online gaming, as well as daily fantasy sports or sports betting. Instead, players are taking part in such activities in a ‘black market’.
In the past, the state has tried to pass a gaming package but political issues have remained in play, preventing a bill from passing into law regarding any gambling changes. It will most likely be the end of the year and into 2019 before we see any real debate as most states, including Illinois, are waiting until mid-term elections are over to make any decisions.