Lawmakers hear testimony on sports betting bill
The House Sales, Amusement & Other Taxes Subcommittee heard testimony from a variety of panels about how to make a proposed sports betting bill work best for Illinois.
Several speakers urged lawmakers to remove any requirements that would make it so that people had to physically go to casinos or racetracks to register and fund their sports betting accounts. Robert Davidman, a partner with Spreads Group, said technology provides consumer protection.
"Data always tells a great story," Davidman said. "Technology is being used and can be used in Illinois to protect consumers. With leveraging modern technology, we can ensure people are within the state and ensure that underage consumers, problem gamblers and others are prohibited from gambling. Data can often identify if people have a problem before it's too late."
Davidman also said forcing online operators to co-brand with existing retail operators could cause confusion to players and reduce competition.
"Competition drives a robust market," Davidman said. "Brand investment in other states need to be leveraged to create this robust market. If this is a recreational product, you shouldn't require people to drive to a specific location to register."
Another panel urged lawmakers to consider keeping college sports out of legalized gambling.
"I urge you to exempt college sports from sports wagering in Illinois," said Larry Lyons, the director of athletics at Illinois State University. "We need to protect our student-athletes."
Lyons added that universities did not have a problem with professional bets and only opposed those on college sports.
Several local governments across the state also supported sports betting and said it was important for the economy to grow.