Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling on Murphy v National Collegiate Athletic Association last year, which provided a framework for state-sanctioned sports betting, many lawmakers have been lining up to take advantage.  So far, seven states have passed some form of state-regulated sports betting: Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.  It appears Illinois may follow suit.

Slightly different “Sports Wagering Act” bills have been introduced in both the Illinois House of Representatives and Senate. Each bill would allow sports wagering at authorized gaming facilities.  However, they differ as to how sports betting would be authorized. The Senate bill would authorize sports gambling under the River Boat Gambling Act.[1]The House bill would instead authorize sports gambling under the Illinois Horse Racing Act. [2]  The primary difference between the bills is how sports gambling would be taxed.

The Senate bill proposes a 12.5% state tax on all gross gambling revenue in addition to a $10,000 initial licensing fee followed by a $5,000 renewal fee to be paid annually.  The Senate bill also includes a 1% integrity fee.

The House bill, on the other hand, proposes higher taxes and licensing fee, including a 30% state tax on all gross gambling revenue along with a $250,000 initial licensing fee.  The House bill also requires that all money from the tax on gambling revenue be deposited into Capital Project funds for infrastructure investments and that 25% of the funds related to licensing fees would be diverted to the Department of Human Services to fund programs that focus on gambling addiction.

While neither bill has yet to become law, it does appear that legalized sports gambling is gaining bipartisan support in both houses.  Further, Governor Pritzker has expressed his desire to move forward in this area, indicating his belief that legalizing sports gambling would not only replace an already booming illicit gambling market with a legal and regulated outlet but would also bring in more than $200 million dollars of new state revenue in the first fiscal year alone.[3]  A recent study shows that legalized sport gambling might have an even greater economic impact that initial expected.

Last February, two researchers for the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign published a paper claiming a balanced sports betting framework could increase gaming industry revenues by $565 million annually.[4]Further, their research indicated that this new industry could create more than 2,500 new jobs, enhance state tax returns by $100 million annually, fund programs that specialize in gambling addiction, and minimize illegal gambling.

For more information regarding this or other matters, contact Sherer Law Offices at (618) 692-6656.

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