Sports fans throughout Illinois are keeping a close eye on the happenings in Springfield after the U.S. Supreme Court’s lifted the federal ban on sports gambling earlier this week.
A number of lawmakers in Springfield appear to be excited about the potential of legalized sports gambling throughout Illinois. Senator Dave Syverson of Rockford, representing Illinois’ 35th district, says there is already a plan on standby in the Illinois House that would establish six new casinos around the state to serve as locations for sports betting.
Jacksonville-based State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer is among the lawmakers sharing his thoughts on the potential of legalized sports gambling in Illinois. Davidsmeyer says that, in regards to the potential for six new casinos being created, he feels there will be a push towards legalization from certain lawmakers, particularly ones that represent districts in which these new gambling hubs would be established.
“I think you’ll see the legislators that are looking to receive a casino under the new proposed gambling bill would be supportive of putting this onto it, because a lot of people enjoy sports and may like to gamble a bit. I do have concerns. That bill has been so large, that I have concerns that all the new casinos will bring down the gaming issue. I also have concerns about gambling addiction and things of that sort, so with any gaming discussion, or sports gambling discussion, there has to be discussion about how to catch the addiction early or deter it from the get go,” says Davidsmeyer.
In terms of the potential benefits legalized sports gambling would offer the state, possibly in some form of taxation, Davidsmeyer says that, while he has yet to see a clear outline of how the taxing arrangement would work, he believes it could certainly be a positive step for Illinois financially.
“I was having a casual conversation last night with some legislators about this and none of us had really heard a proposal on how it would be taxed, but I’m sure there would be some form of tax on winnings or something of that sort. I’m sure it would be a benefit to the state, but as long as the addiction and the services needed for things like that weren’t more (costly) than the revenue that you’re taking in. I know individuals who have had problems with gambling, and I certainly take this stuff very seriously,” Davidsmeyer says.
When the topic of legalizing sports gambling comes up, often times it’s associated with other activities that are currently illegal, yet continue to take place behind closed doors such as the consumption of marijuana. Davidsmeyer explains his stance on the issue.
“You always think about, if people are doing things that are currently illegal, they are illegal for a reason. You want to make sure that, if you do bring it forward, that it’s done right, done properly and it’s well-regulated. These things are happening behind the scenes, but there’s a lot of things that go on that are illegal that I would say we should never legalize,” Davidsmeyer explains.
According to the aforementioned Rockford Senator Dave Syverson, he believes state lawmakers could approve a plan to legalize sports gambling and have it to Governor Rauner’s desk by the end of May.