That’s the word from Illinois State Rep. Bob Rita who wants the state legislature to take a serious look at online gaming and sports betting next year.
The Blue Island Democrat announced he will lead a series of hearings in a bid to build consensus on online poker, online casino, daily fantasy sports, and sports betting ahead of the next legislative session, but tells local media he needs other lawmakers to get onboard to make online gaming and sports betting legal.
He said he wants to see if there is an appetite in the legislature for casino expansion.
Rita has been chairman of the Illinois House subcommittee on Gaming, Sales, and Other Taxes since 2013 and has launched several attempts to expand gambling, which he believes is the key to fixing the state’s significant budget deficit, without success.
“As I have said from the beginning in working on this issue, gaming expansion presents many tremendous opportunities to create revenue, jobs and economic growth in Illinois,” Rita said in a media release last week.
“The gaming landscape has changed significantly since I took on this issue five years ago, and I want to use these hearings to understand how those changes present new opportunities for us to put the right package together as we look to meet budget needs and provide a spark for our economy,” he added.