Who’s For, Who’s Against The Most Significant Illinois Gaming Proposals

Written By Joe Boozell on April 30, 2021
for against illinois gaming proposals

On April 28, the Executive Committee of the Illinois House convened to deliberate on “gaming proposals.”

Some of the key gaming topics on the agenda included online casino policy, enrollment for in-person sports betting, and betting on state college teams, among others.

As you might expect, these subjects have both advocates and critics. Sometimes, we are familiar with specific politicians who either champion or challenge a particular plan. In other cases, we see whole industries either backing or contesting certain processes.

Shall we proceed, then?

Website blackjack regulations

At present, the House is considering an online casino bill, HB 3142.

Virtual games such as online casinos, table games, and blackjack may be legalized across Illinois. Currently, six states have some form of legally authorized online gaming.

The House bill includes a six-month in-person registration requirement, a 12% tax rate, and a cap of 36 coats.

Who & rsquo,s for an Illinois online casino

Rep. Robert Rita, head of the committee

Robert Rita co-sponsored HB 3142 at the reading, but did not provide significant information on online gambling.



Jonathan Carroll, a representative

Despite not participating in this board, Jonathan Carroll is a co-sponsor of the Internet Gaming Act.



Daniel Didech, Rep.

Daniel Didech led the board for online casinos.

He advocated for a regulated market, asserting that the unlawful online casino market poses a dangerous status quo.

“These illicit websites operate and advertise without considering the safety of individuals grappling with gambling addiction, making them incredibly exploitative towards problem gamblers. Furthermore, these unlawful sites significantly harm the Illinois economy, and fail to generate tax revenue or employment opportunities.”

Many witnesses also highlighted the possible economic advantages of online casino games in Illinois.

John Pappas, founder and CEO of Corridor Consulting, stated that taking licensing fees into account, the online casino industry in Illinois could generate $1 billion in tax revenue within five years.

Who & rsquo, skeptic / against playing at an online casino

Several witnesses asserted that internet gaming would not undermine physical casinos in Illinois. This view aligns logically with the fact that all the casinos are supportive of internet gaming.

Tim Butler, a representative

However, Tim Butler counteracted his opponents by bringing up the video gaming terminal (VGT) industry, arguing that it would be the most adversely affected by online casinos.

Butler referred to these as “& ldquo ,” or “mom-and-pop businesses.” Although he did not outright oppose the bill, he did express some concerns.

Lastly, several witnesses gave testimony opposing online casino gambling and supporting VGTs.

The most significant resistance against online casinos seems to come from the VGT industry and legislators worried about potential cannibalization.

betting on intrastate colleges

The hearing began with the topic of in-state college betting.

Currently, residents of Illinois are legally permitted to place bets on teams from in-state schools such as Illinois, Northwestern, Loyola-Chicago, and the like.

This year, Rep. Michael Zalewski filed a bill to repeal the ban, a topic that was discussed on the panel.

Who & rsquo, in favor of lifting the ban on college betting in Illinois

Michael Zalewski, Rep.

Michael Zalewski, who also spoke at the receiving, co-sponsored the act.

He argued that the ban undermines our market and renders us less competitive than we could potentially be.

Zalewski noted that it’s quite straightforward for a resident of Illinois to go to Indiana or Iowa and place a bet on an Illinois team.

Pappas has stated that the rule has led to a 15% reduction in the state’s market.

Jonathan Carroll, a representative

Carroll seems to have provided support at the hearing and is also a co-sponsor of Zalewski’s bill.

Afterwards, Josh Whitman, Illinois Athletics’ chairman, discussed how the reform might intensify pressure on participants. He was questioned by Carroll who doubted the claim that a school could reduce an athlete’s scholarship due to below average athletic performance.

Who & rsquo opposes / skeptics a repeal

Director of athletics for Illinois Josh Whitman

At the hearing, all 13 Division I athletic directors of Illinois were represented by Whitman.

Whitman contended that although it’s possible to drive across the border to place bets on house activities in Iowa and Illinois, it’s easier said than done.

His primary concern was the impact of in-state school sports betting on the mental health of student athletes.

Here, a part of this testimony

They are constantly absorbed in their phones, forming a significant part of their self-image or persona based on comments they make about individuals they’ve never met on social media. This is a daily challenge that we encounter in contemporary college sports. My colleagues and I are firmly against the notion of allowing individuals in our state to place bets on our student athletes, as this simply encourages and invites harmful, intimidating, and abusive interactions with them.

Tim Butler, Rep.

Butler did not openly oppose a repeal, thus categorize him as ‘skeptical’.

Despite agreeing with Whitman that crossing state lines to place sports bets is easier said than done, he argued that the solution isn’t as straightforward as Zalewski had suggested.

In-person register for sports gambling

In early April, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker did not extend his executive order permitting mobile sports betting registration. Consequently, new bettors in Illinois are now required to register for an online sports betting account in person at a casino.

Registration in person will remain in effect until 2022 unless legislation changes it. Mobile registration will not be available until the Illinois Gaming Board issues a license specifically for mobile use, which can’t occur until at least 2022.

However, there’s no assurance that anyone will even bid for the license, given its $20 million cost and the presence of DraftKings and FanDuel in the IL market already.

Who & rsquo,s for registering for online sports betting

Online sportsbooks in Illinois

Numerous individuals advocated for registering with an online casino.

Specifically, Trevor Hayes from William Hill (on the right) and Jeff Kaplan from Penn National Gaming (on the left).

Penn National Gaming operates as a Barstool Sportsbook in Illinois.

Who & rsquo, s on the fence / against registration online

Representative Robert Rita

Notably, legislators did not support enrollment through the website.

Several people discussed the difficulty of passing the 2019 gaming bill, even though they didn’t express whether they were personally for or against it.

“That was a vital element of the bill’s ultimate outcome.”

Rita advocated for the original purpose of the rule and stated that the primary focus is on brick-and-mortar casinos.

Tim Butler, Rep. 

Butler agreed with Rita that this clause was essential for the approval of the 2019 expenses.

Rush Street Interactive of Rivers Casino

While no one from Rivers Casino spoke at the hearing, it should be noted that Rivers has previously been against online registration.

AP pictures by Seth Perlman
Boozell, Joe Avatar
authored by

Boozell, Joe

Joe Boozell has served as a college sports writer for NCAA.com since 2015. His work has also been published on Bleacher Report, FoxSports.com, and NBA.com. As a youth, Boozell competed with both Anthony Davis and Frank Kaminsky in the basketball scene of Chicagoland, and one can only guess how those encounters went.

View all posts by Boozell, Joe