In the state of Illinois, the position of mayor in Chicago and governor are up for grabs and all signs point to individuals taking office that would be positive for gambling. If the right people are in place, the state may soon be able to see a gambling expansion bill finally pass into law, allowing such options as sports betting.
Movement is already being made to prepare for the potential expansion with a sports betting hearing set to take place in October. During the hearing, we should be able to tell more if lawmakers are for or against the gambling option.
The state also has a bill on the table, Senate Bill 7, introduced by Representative Robert Rita, that first came to light in January of last year and has remained stuck ever since. The bill would create a massive expansion in the gambling industry, much like what Pennsylvania did last year.
SB 7 would allow for the state to regulate daily fantasy sports as well as online gaming and sports betting. Six new casinos could be constructed in the state along the creation of the Chicago Casino Development Authority.
This year, the bill was sent to the House Rules Committee in late May after having passed the Senate. However, the bill has yet to move any further.
Currently, Chicago has been without gaming as Mayor Rahm Emanuel was strongly against video gaming terminals and would not budge when it came to a city-owned casino. It has been announced that the mayor will not be seeking reelection, so the area may have the potential to add gaming if a new mayor comes in that is willing to work on the subject.
A new mayor would have to work on potential revenue streams for the city and casino gaming would certainly be an option. It will be interesting to see if a new mayor of Chicago and a governor for the state will bring about the potential for gambling legal changes in Illinois as 2019 begins.