Governor Pritzker wants to legalize sports gambling - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Governor Pritzker wants to legalize sports gambling

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WSIL -- Legal sports gambling could come to Illinois soon.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants to see it legalized so it can bring in hundreds of millions of dollars for the state.

In May last year, the US Supreme Court made a ruling that effectively legalized sports gambling.

Before then, Nevada was the only state where you could legally place bets, but in the last year, nine other states have legalized sports gambling to some extent.

Pritzker wants Illinois to join that list.

"Every day we argue about "who's in and who's out" is money that goes to other states and to the black market," Pritzker said in his budget address Wednesday.

Pritzker said various taxes and licenses on sports gambling would bring in $212 million next year.  

John Jackson with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute said Pritzker is targeting several taxes to bring in more revenue. Sports gambling is just one area.

"Because everybody who knows anything about the budget knows that we've got to have some additional revenue," Jackson said.

A possible problem is how Illinois previously legalized gambling, first with riverboat casinos in 1990 and then with video gaming machines in 2009.  

Jackson said revenues fell well short of what lawmakers predicted in both cases.

"They're going to have to do this carefully and I think with the negative example from casino gambling, surely the General Assembly and the governor would look at those other experiences, figure out where they did not adequately draw the law," Jackson said.

Jackson says so-called "sin taxes" tend to be easier to pass, and Bill Brady, the top Republican in the State Senate, told Politico he's open minded about it and willing to work with the governor, if it's rolled out right.

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