Illinois legalises sports betting, adds casinos

Senate lawmakers from Illinois approved a massive gambling expansion bill on Sunday night, which legalises sports betting and adds six more casinos.

US.- Illinois is set to become the next state in the US to approve sports betting and add more casinos to its current offering. The Senate approved on Sunday night a huge gambling expansion bill that adds six more casinos and approves legalised sports betting in Illinois.

Senate Bill 690 passed the chamber on a 46-10 vote. The bill had been approved by the House the previous day, and Governor J.B. Pritzker already said he will sign the bill into law as soon as he gets it. “We worked hard in a bipartisan fashion to pass a budget and to get a massive, important infrastructure bill passed,” Pritzker said.

“I’ve only been doing this for 20 years to get this done, and it’s a little emotional,” said Senator Terry Link, sponsor of the bill, during the discussion of the legislative piece. He estimates that the gambling expansion could bring the state more than US$12 billion in the next six years. In the first year alone, Illinois could perceive as much as US$700 million.

“This key piece of legislation really is going to make an economic difference of keeping our dollars home,” he said. Link added that he expects thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in construction thanks to this expansion bill.

The bill authorises six new casinos in downtown Chicago, Williamson County, Rockford, Waukegan, Danville and South Suburbs. Those facilities, as well as race tracks and sports venues with more than 17,000 seats will also be eligible to buy sports betting licences.

“Legalised sports betting and expanding gaming will create jobs up and down the state… where communities hungry for employment will see 10,000 new jobs,” said the Governor after the House approved the bill by 87-27 and sent it to the Senate on Saturday. “Gaming expansions in this state have been attempted and failed for years. Today is a win for the whole state,” he added.

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