Will legal sports gambling come to Illinois soon? - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Will legal sports gambling come to Illinois soon?

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HERRIN -- A Supreme Court decision paves the way for states to legalize sports gambling, but will that happen anytime soon in Illinois?

Teddy's Sports Bar and Grill in Herrin is one of hundreds, maybe thousands of bars across the region with sports on TV most nights.

Bill Sizemore of Teddy's said if people were allowed to gamble on sports, that would help his business.

"It would possibly create a better influx of customers coming in to watch the games on TV if they've got another added interest in that," Sizemore said.

Sizemore said he's confident legalized sports gambling would help the state and help businesses, he's just not confident state lawmakers can actually get the job done.

"We need to be sure we listen to all of the stakeholders involved, keep an open mind, and give this issue the consideration it deserves," Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) said in a statement.

Gov. Bruce Rauner (R-Illinois) denounced gambling during a press conference Monday, but he also said it should be up to each community if they want to allow it.

John Jackson, a political analyst with SIU's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, believes several states will try legalizing sports gambling.

"Illinois has looked at it and studied it but as of now, it has not resulted in legislation but that's probably going to be forthcoming," Jackson said.

There's already a bill in the works in Illinois, but the sponsor, Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), told the Chicago Tribune the odds are against it moving through before the deadline at the end of the month.

He also told the Tribune to excuse the pun.

All joking aside though, Jackson said there are serious downfalls to legal sports gambling.  

"There's always the worry about corruption, particularly of college sports but also for pro sports," Jackson said.

But he said the extra tax money, estimated to be anywhere from $300 to $681 million a year according to the research firm Eilers and Krejcik Gaming as cited by the Tribune, might be too much to ignore.

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