In a last-ditch effort, lawmakers in Springfield have passed two important bills. One impacting Illinois online sports betting, extending in-person betting on in-state college teams at retail sportsbooks for another year. The other gutted a requirement for Illinois sportsbooks to provide bettors with hourly pop-up messages informing how much they’ve wagered. Instead, the bill now includes language to add new Illinois Lottery games.
A series of online gambling and problem gambling bills have been working their way through the Illinois Legislature over the past few months. However, only two of them look to be heading to Governor J.B. Pritzker’s desk before the end of this year’s legislative session.
Illinois problem gambling bill altered to add to Illinois Lottery passes after busy week
Senate bill 1508 went on a rollercoaster ride over the past five days before being passed in both the State Senate and State House. The bill originally implemented a rule requiring Illinois sportsbooks to display a pop-up message after every 10 wagers made online to make the player aware of how much they’ve bet.
Included in the pop-up would be hyperlinks and phone numbers to Illinois problem gambling resource information. Supporters claimed it would make it easier than ever for those struggling with problem gambling to find help. That bill passed the Senate with no pushback, as it was sent to the House after a unanimous 54-0 vote.
However, a House amendment literally deleted the entire text of the bill and replaced it with legislation allowing the issuance of several new lottery scratch-off games designed to benefit charities and community groups.
The new language allows the Illinois Lottery to issue no more than 10 of these specialty scratch-off games. Net revenues from the games would be equally divided among the special causes the games are designated to benefit.
It was passed by the House on May 19 in a 78-30 vote. The bill had already passed in the Senate, but another vote Wednesday approved the House’s changes.
Every indication is that Governor Pritzker will sign this bill into law. However, it contains no remnants of its original goal to address problem gambling issues in the state.
Betting on in-state schools extended for another year
Meanwhile, a bill has passed that extends betting on in-state schools another season.SB0089 allows bettors to place pre-game, in-person wagers on Illinois schools through the 2023-24 season.
We have not talked much about SB0089, because it didn’t have anything to do with sports wagering until late last week when Rep. Bob Rita submitted the amendment to the bill adding the extension. The law covering the bets was set to expire on July 1.
This bill is very different from HB4041 which would allow Illinois online sportsbooks to accept a wager for a sports event involving an Illinois collegiate team if the bet is a tier 1 wager unrelated to an individual athlete’s performance. That bill is still stuck in the House Rules Committee.
The belief is that SB0089 is basically a placeholder that will give lawmakers another year to sort out the details of using online sportsbooks to place bets on in-state schools.
Other online gambling bills are not moving
The bills that would allow for legal Illinois online casinos have not made any movement over the past two weeks been dashed. HB2239 and HB2320 are both measures that would create the Internet Gaming Act. After being re-referred to the House Rules Committee in mid-March, HB2239 has not budged. HB2320 has been stuck in the Rules Committee since Feb. 14, the same day it was introduced by State Rep. Jonathan Carroll.
Meanwhile, the Senate version of the Internet Gaming Act has also stalled out. After being introduced on Feb. 8 by State Sen. Cristina Castro, SB1655 has not moved out of the Senate Executive Committee, where Castro serves as the chairwoman.