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Illinois Casino Expansion Tied To Sports Betting Bill

Rep. Robert Rita's Proposal To Add Six Casinos, Including One In Chicago, Is Added To Sports Betting Legislation

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An Illinois lawmaker added his casino expansion proposal to the sports betting bill that is making a last-second push to pass through the legislature.

With the Illinois legislative session set to expire at the end of the week, Rep. Robert Rita (D) tacked his proposal that would add six additional casinos to the state, including a land-based property in Chicago, to SB 516.

The bill is known as the Riverboat Gambling Act and is likely to be heard on the house floor on Wednesday or Thursday. Sen. Terry Link (D) spoke at a press conference and told those in attendance that he “looks forward to making it happen this week and [getting the] governor to sign in the very near future.”

Rita, who has been pushing for casino expansion in the state for several years, is now the bill’s chief sponsor.

If the bill is passed, Rita’s proposal would add five new riverboat casinos in Illinois to go with the proposed Chicago location. It would also add table games to the horse tracks in the state and create sweepstakes wagering, according to a report from the Chicago Sun Times.

On the sports betting end of the legislation, there is still a lot up in the air.

S 516 is a shell bill and is going to be filled out before it is heard on the floor. All parties involved want to pass both retail and online betting but can’t iron out the details. Many in the casino industry want to be able to block DraftKings and FanDuel from entering the online space.

If legislation can pass and get to the Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk, it is likely to be signed into law. Pritzker introduced his budget earlier in the year and included $200 million in new tax revenue from legalized sports betting.