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Lawmakers explore proposals to legalize sports gambling

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Lawmakers want to make sports gambling legal in Illinois, but there’s a number of different proposals to do so.

A committee heard from several people Thursday with possible interests in the industry.

House Bill 3308 would legalize sports gambling in Illinois.

The problem? There’s five amendments to the bill, each one drastically different from the others.

"We believe legalizing sports betting will provide a regulated and safe gaming environment to the patrons and financially benefit the state as opposed to an unregulated black market," Tom Swoik of the Illinois Casino Gambling Association said.

Amendment One would allow mobile and internet sports betting across the state.

"The first amendment, what we vernacularly refer to as New Jersey, is I think the most indicative of what the current gaming community wants," Rep. Mike Zalewski, (D) Riverside, said.

Amendment Two would only allow mobile and internet sports betting at a brick-and-mortar location.

Amendment Three would put sports leagues in charge of sports betting in the state, a first in the country if it were to pass.

Dan Spillane, vice president of the National Basketball Association, said that option would best prevent fraud.

"We don’t expect to try to prohibit a significant number of bets or bet types, but there are certain types of bets that could create a higher risk of manipulation," Spillane said.

Amendment Four puts the Illinois Lottery in charge of sports gambling and Amendment Five looks to ban certain sportsbook websites like DraftKings and FanDuel.

Most amendments require a $10 million fee for brick and mortar casinos and a $1 million fee for a mobile license.

Some also tax how much casinos and online outlets receive for sports betting.  

Governor J.B. Pritzker expects sports gaming to bring in $212 million next year.  

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