The Illinois General Assembly could include sports betting on their agenda this year.
Some estimate the practice could generate between $50 and $150 million annually for the state’s economy.
Democratic state Rep. Lou Lang of Skokie said a proposal has been in the works for months. “I’ve had various drafts—there are many issues to discuss," he said.
"When I have a draft that I’m happy with, I still won’t be introducing it, rather I’ll be distributing it to various stakeholders for their comments and we’ll try to piece together what is necessary to pass the bill.”
Lang also said the proposal could generate growth opportunities. “I do think it will create a new industry in Illinois. I do think it will put a lot of people to work in this industry and it will take people off the grid of gaming illegally online," he said.
Lang said he’s in constant talks with casino and racetrack owners—among other stakeholders—who in the past have not supported gambling expansion proposals. Other opponents say gambling is addictive and leads to social problems.
The U.S. Supreme Court last year allowed sports betting outside of Nevada, giving individual states the opportunity to set their own rules. Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker has said, "it's an important thing to consider."