Illinois is in the process of considering a legal sports betting industry should the US Supreme Court overturn a federal ban, and newly proposed legislation has added online sports betting as an option. The state is mulling legislation to regulate and tax betting on sports, joining other states such as Indiana, Missouri, California and Massachusetts. Laws allowing legal sports betting have already been passed in Pennsylvania, Mississippi and West Virginia.
An Illinois Senate committee heard the opinions of those both for and against sports betting in the state, which would allow for casinos to accept bets on individual professional, amateur and college games. The casinos will be allowed to offer betting facilities at their brick and mortar facilities as well as online, as long as they are limited to state residents.
At present, Illinois does not allow sports gambling due to the almost blanket federal ban, however, a ruling by the US Supreme Court is expected in the coming weeks, regarding New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s attempts to legalize sports betting in his state. Should the higher court rule in the Garden State’s favor, multiple states, including Illinois, could be introducing their own sports betting industries almost at once.
Illinois lawmakers heard representatives of two professional sports leagues – the NBA and the MLB, who expressed their opinions about legal sports betting in the state, and in the country as a whole.
The Senior Vice President of the NBA, Dan Spillane, representing a league which has been, up until now, the most vocally opposed to legal sports betting, said that views in the league have “evolved” over the past quarter of a century.
“The time has come for a different approach to give sports fans a safe and legal way to bet on sporting events while protecting the integrity of our competitions,” he told the Senate committee.
Both Dan Spillane and Bryan Seeley, head of investigations for Major League Baseball, said that a weel-regulated sports betting framework would be helpful in providing information to all the leagues to perform their own internal investigations in cases of misconduct. The leagues are also demanding that casinos that offer sports betting pay an “integrity fee”, to be made up of a percentage of the wagers placed by players, to help cover the costs to ensure that sports competitions remain honest.