For a decade, Illinois lawmakers are trying to pass an expansion of casino gambling in the state. With the popularity of sports betting today, they see an opportunity in the horizons. In fact, several lawmakers are planning to come up with an omnibus gambling bill that will make casino expansion part of the bill to legalize sports betting.
Representative Robert Rita proposed a measure that will allow six additional casinos in the state. In addition, existing casinos can add more gambling seats. He told bookie pay per head experts that incorporating it into the sports betting bill will neutralize some of the criticism that hampered the gambling expansion plan.
Also, Rita said that existing casinos want to offer sports betting. It is a common denominator that can help expand gambling in the state. In addition, expansion advocates said it is the right time for it. In fact, they said the expansion plan can bring $350 million tax revenue each year.
The omnibus gambling bill is still just an idea. Rita hasn’t written it into a proposal. However, he wants the bill to have a provision to allow the addition of a land-based casino in Chicago. Also, the proposal will add up to five riverboat casinos throughout the state. In addition, the proposal will add more seats in casinos, creation of sweepstakes betting, and table games at horse race tracks.
In the past, people debated the scope and size of the expansion. Groups were morally or politically against gambling. Some groups argue about where to spend the tax revenues from the gambling expansion. Also, the horse racing industry didn’t want casinos to expand in the state.
According to bookie software reports, the initial efforts to expand casino gambling came from former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He wanted a casino in his city but it didn’t happen during his term. In May 2011, lawmakers approved it but then-Governor Pat Quinn vetoed the bill.