Once more, Illinois will consider the question of legalizing online poker and other online gambling options when lawmakers meet on August 22nd at a special hearing. In a press release put out by State Rep. Bob Rita, it was said that the Illinois House subcommittees on Gaming, and Sales and Other Tax will also meet to discuss sports betting opportunities following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a national ban.
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Another hearing is scheduled for October 3rd in Springfield.
The lawmaker does not expect any votes on the issue to take place until after mid-term elections.
Rita said in his press release that gaming expansion presents many tremendous opportunities to create jobs, revenue and economic growth in the state.
“The gaming landscape has changed significantly since I took on this issue five years ago, and I want to use these hearings to understand how those changes present new opportunities for us to put the right package together as we look to meet budget needs and provide a spark for our economy,” he said.
Lawmakers have been arguing for years that the only way to keep gambling dollars in Illinois is through a massive expansion of the industry so that it can be in a more competitive position compared to neighboring states.
Last year, players in the Prairie State spent $1.5 billion gambling in neighboring states, making a strong argument for pro-gambling expansionists in Illinois.
State Senator Dave Syverson was quoted by the media earlier this year saying: “If you go to an Indiana casino, right over the border, you’ll see 95% of the license plates are all Illinois plates.”
Another threat to Illinois is the planned $400 million tribal casino that is set to be build in Wisconsin by the Ho-Chunk Nation. Not only will this resort have gambling facilities, but it will also boast a water park, convention center, hotel and concern venue.