6 new casinos, slots at airports, sports betting part of new gambling proposal

SPRINGFIELD - Six new casinos along with sports betting parlors at Chicago's arenas and even slots at the airports might be two of a host of changes coming to Illinois' gambling landscape if lawmakers approve comprehensive legislation released late Friday morning.

The legislation passed out of a House committee late Friday evening but must still be approved by the full House and Senate before being sent to the governor.

All revenues resulting from the bill would go toward infrastructure projects, according to a summary released Friday afternoon.

According to the summary, an amendment to House Bill 690 will include added casinos in Chicago, Waukegan, the south suburbs, Williamson County (Walker's Bluff), Rockford and Danville - all of which would be allowed to be land-based.

The bill would allow slot machines at O'Hare and Midway airports as part of the Chicago casino proposal. The Chicago casino would be privately owned and its revenue would be split evenly between the private operator, the city and the state.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot objecting to the legislation, specifically a provision to allow sports betting at sports venues such as Soldier Field, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

"I strongly support a gaming bill that directs a new casino and dollars to the city of Chicago. However, I oppose the inclusion of a provision that would open up sports wagering in venues like Soldier Field," Lightfoot said.

Sports betting would also be legalized under the bill, with licensing fees ranging from $3.2 million to $10 million per facility. Existing casinos, race tracks and sports facilities such as Wrigley Field would be allowed to apply for a license.

Sports betting licensees could offer online betting immediately upon receiving a license under the plan, but for the first 18 months, the initial deposit would have to be made at a brick-and-mortar gambling site. After a bettor makes an initial deposit, they can use a vendor's online app to place bets.

Licensees would be allowed to partner with online providers such as DraftKings and FanDuel in the 18-month period following the bill's passage. Three exclusively online licenses would be offered once that period passes, at $20 million a pop.

Sports betting would be taxed at 15 percent.

Betting on Illinois college teams would be banned in the proposal, and an Illinois Lottery sports betting pilot program would be established as well.

Horse racing tracks would also be allowed to install video gambling machines per the bill.

The amendment would also adjust tax rates on several gambling types, including video gambling, to generate more state revenue.

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