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Illinois Gambling Expansion Push Hits Snag

State Likely Seeking 'Comprehensive Bill'

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Illinois’ gambling expansion ambitions appear to be on the horizon, but legislation will likely have to wait until the next legislative session.

According to a report from the Chicago Sun Times, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling over sports betting in mid-May is revitalizing gambling expansion plans for the state of Illinois, which includes talks of putting a Las Vegas-style casino in Chicago. However, the complexities of such an omnibus plan currently have drawn concerns from Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

A person from the mayor’s office told the Sun-Times that a proposal floated in late May doesn’t go far enough in the wake of the SCOTUS ruling. There have been more narrowed calls for allowing six new brick-and-mortar casinos, including one in Chicago, and also expanding the gambling offerings at some existing brick-and-mortar facilities in the state.

Per the source close to Emanuel, the city of Chicago would demand a substantial cut of any casino’s profits. That adds further complexities to the discussions.

However, the most recent legislation, pushed by State Rep. Robert Rita, only contained an outline for what to do about sports betting and online gambling, two activities that the SCOTUS ruling cleared the path for. Reporting out of Springfield suggests that Illinois won’t pass any gambling expansion measure unless those are included and fully hashed out.

“Now that the [U.S.] Supreme Court has ruled on internet gambling, we don’t see any casino bill moving until it’s a comprehensive bill” that includes online casinos, the source told the Sun-Times.

Illinois is looking to become just the fifth state to have approved online casino gambling. Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania are the others.