Illinois lawmakers are considering adding online gambling and sports betting the gaming portfolio for the state. However, the lead policymaker in charge of draft legislation says that Illinois will have to ensure that transaction taxes don’t drive people to gamble elsewhere.
What Does Gambling In Illinois Entail?
There are several moving parts concerning gambling expansion in Illinois. The state is looking to make gaming available in more capacities than horse racing, video slots, and casinos. There have been talks about fantasy sports betting and new casinos. After the Supreme Court approved the decision to legalize sports gaming in May 2018, Illinois state representative Lou Lang D-Skokie has been investigating the ways that Illinois can make legal gambling interesting.
The representative spoke to a committee in Springfield recently and said that lawmakers must consider a whole host of things, including how to deal with the technology that comes with modern gambling, whether to permit only one vendor and ensuring that the state is not in violation of the Federal Wire Act.
Lang also says “you cannot transmit the types of info that involves sports betting across state lines over a wire.” He insisted that each state that wants to do this must be “insulated.” He also shared that Illinois could be a sports betting hub if the law is repealed.
Additional Benefits of Gambling In Illinois
At the Springfield meeting, Lang talks of permitting online sports betting, instead of limiting wagering to live locations. Lang shares that this would generate more revenue for the state. He also warned that lawmakers shouldn’t rush when it comes to establishing gaming rules for Illinois. This will ensure that gamblers in the city will be attracted to gaming activities and won’t be excessively taxed for placing bets.
Lang stated that “it will drive people out of the market and it will hurt the bottom line for the state” if regulations aren’t both fair and appealing. He says that if the taxes are too high, people won’t participate in gambling as much, which will affect the state’s bottom line financially. Lang says that he’s focused on economic development in Illinois.
The revenue from sports gambling could range from $50 million to $300 million, according to Lang. However, it’s not clear how the state will utilize the funds. Lang asserts that the state has several needs, and can use the gambling revenue to pay pension and use it as part of a large capital bill.
Illinois and Online Gaming
CEO of gaming at Pala Interactive Jim Ryan says that he’d like to see Illinois make sports betting. He also says that the process should be regulated. Ryan attended the same committee gathering Lang attended and told those in attendance that he’d logged onto an illegal gambling website the night before at his hotel. Ryan also admitted that he’d placed a bet on a sports team and was asked to play various other games of chance. He said he realized that his information and money may or may not have been secure, since the website was illegal. Perhaps Ryan did this to make a point, so that lawmakers in Illinois would see the importance of making gambling a legal practice. Legalizing sports betting helps to protect consumers, and makes bettors more comfortable with wagering.
The executive director of Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems Anita Bedell is concerned about the possibility of gambling becoming legal in the state. Bedell says that “people who would not go to an illegal website, who would not go to an illegal bookie, would do so because it’s legal.”
Ryan says he understands why Bedell is concerned and states that “the industry will become larger because it’s regulated, but it will become larger in a regulated and responsible environment.”
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