In Depth: Illinois Bets On Gambling Expansion

Cisco Cotto
January 08, 2020 - 6:00 am
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(WBBM NEWSRADIO) – Illinois lawmakers and Gov. Pritzker have put their chips behind expanded gambling, with the landscape here changing dramatically in 2020.

What’s in store? WBBM Newsradio’s latest edition of its “In Depth” podcast looks at the creation of a Chicago casino and legalized sports betting in Illinois.

It’s too early to tell whether sports betting will be accepted by players who previously played the illegal market, or how much state government stands to reap in tax dollars when legal bets are wagered. In the meantime, the state has a lot logistics and regulations to work through, notes Brendan Bussmann, partner and government affairs director for Global Market Advisors in Las Vegas.

“I’m hopeful sometime this spring, but we’ll have to see how that still plays out,” he tells WBBM Newsradio’s Cisco Cotto.

A major component of the Illinois gambling expansion is a first-ever casino in Chicago. City officials have said the authorizing legislation has too many tax liabilities for potential owners and operators.

Chicago Magazine business columnist Bob Reed said legislators, Gov. Pritzker and Chicago leaders will need to get together on specifics to make the casino happen and generate tax revenues.

“It’s going to take a lot of playing ball,” Reed said.

The casino environment may be challenged, regardless, Reed said. He said young people may prefer to make bets online or via their phones, rather than visiting a bricks-and-mortar establishment.

In Depth is the WBBM Newsradio weekly podcast that takes a deep dive into a timely issue. Next week: The rising levels of Lake Michigan.