SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A bill to legalize sports gambling in Illinois likely won’t be put before the General Assembly until next year, according to a state lawmaker.
Democratic Rep. Lou Lang of Skokie told two House subcommittees on Wednesday that he’s working on a sports betting bill, but lawmakers likely won’t take up the bill in earnest until a new General Assembly is seated in January.
Lang said he’s working to address issues such as where sports wagering will be allowed, how much it will be taxed and how to keep phone wagering secure.
He’s also looking at how sports betting will impact other gambling interests in the state, such as casinos and horse racing.
“In the end, I’ll have to take all the ideas, do the best negotiation I can, pull it all together and try to put a bill on the floor I think I can pass,” Lang said.
Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Rhode Island and Mississippi have all legalized sports betting.
Opponents fear legalizing sports betting will cause an increase in problem gamblers. Lang said gambling addiction will occur regardless and sports gambling should be regulated and taxed.
“People who want to gamble do gamble, will gamble and are gambling,” Lang said. “Billions and billions of dollars are wagered illegally every year. We’re not going to be able to stop them from doing it.”
Sports gambling funds could help pay pension debt or part of a capital program, Lang said.