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Committee hears Harris’ sports wagering legislation

Sen. Napoleon Harris IIICHICAGO – Illinois casinos could soon offer in-person or online betting on professional, amateur or collegiate sports under a measure spearheaded by State Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey).

Senate Bill 3432 can only go into effect if the federal sports wagering ban is lifted, and it would require a $10,000 licensing fee and a $5,000 license renewal fee for interactive sports wagering platforms. It also outlines consumer protections and integrity requirements for sports wagering operators, including record-keeping and annual reporting to the Gaming Board.

“Our state continues to struggle financially, and we have an opportunity to gain much-needed revenue for education, human services and infrastructure should the federal sports wagering ban be struck down,” Harris, a former NFL linebacker, said. “We know that sports fans enjoy betting, and the state should offer a secure and legal way to do so.”

The legislation imposes a 12.5 percent tax on gross sports wagering revenue and a 1 percent integrity fee for sporting organizations.

Congress enacted the Professional and Amateur Sports Protections Act prohibiting sports betting in 1993 with the exemption of a few states. The constitutionality of that federal law is currently being challenged by New Jersey in the case Christie v. the National Collegiate Athletic Association. A decision is expected later this year.

The Senate Gaming Committee held a subject matter hearing on this and two other related proposals as the discussion on sports betting in Illinois continues.

Sen. Napoleon B. Harris III

 harris 150
15th Legislative District

Committee assignments: Public Health; Transportation; Committee of the Whole; Commerce and Economic Development; Insurance (Vice-Chairperson); Licensed Activities and Pensions.

Biography: Entrepreneur and legislator; from Dixmoor; B.A. in Communications, Northwestern University; Postgraduate certificate, Northwestern Kellogg School of Business Management; former NFL linebacker; married (wife, Nicole); three children (sons, Napoleon Harris IV, Noah & daughter, Nahla).