Latest versions of sports-betting bills would allow wagering at stadiums

Latest versions of sports-betting bills would allow wagering at stadiums

SPRINGFIELD — Sports betting could take place at the homes of the White Sox, Bears, Bulls and Cubs depending on which details emerge in a final bill to legalize the practice in Illinois.

Rep. Michael Zalewski, D-Riverside, has championed this year's effort to bring sports wagering to the state, and several different plans for doing so have been filed in recent months.

Three of those plans would allow betting operators to set up wagering sites at or within five blocks of Guaranteed Rate Field, Soldier Field, United Center and Wrigley Field, with the approval of the teams that play there.

One of those plans would make betting operators pay a 0.25 percent royalty fee to the sports leagues, while also requiring the use of official league data.

But that plan, filed as the third amendment to Zalewski's House Bill 3308, has not been discussed in legislative hearings on the matter since the first batch of sports-betting plans were released in mid-March.

Meanwhile, the other two plans that also allow betting at pro facilities were released more recently and do not include royalty fees to the leagues.

On Monday, Iowa became the 10th in a growing list of states to legalize sports betting since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year allowed the practice.

As Illinois lawmakers are still struggling to accommodate the various interests — including casinos, racetracks, online or mobile operators, professional leagues and more — Zalewski did not give a definite timeline for when a final sports-betting bill might emerge for a vote on the House floor.

"I'd say I'd like a vote as soon as we can get enough support," he said.

Zalewski mentioned that the leagues are in favor of allowing sports wagering at their facilities.

Capitol News Illinois is a newly created nonprofit news service operated by the Illinois Press Foundation. Its mission is to provide credible and unbiased coverage of state government to the more than 400 daily and weekly newspapers that are members of the Illinois Press Association.

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