01/09/2013 4:22PM

Legislature adjourns without addressing account wagering bills


The Illinois legislature adjourned Tuesday night without renewing legislation that would permit account wagering in the state.

Tuesday was the final day of a legislative lame-duck session. A new legislature was sworn in Wednesday, and it’s uncertain when lawmakers will next address account wagering, or advance deposit wagering.

The failure to renew Illinois account wagering came despite the existence of two bills that would have done so. The first, which dealt strictly with advance deposit wagering, passed the Senate in November but never was called for a vote in the House of Representatives. A new Senate bill introduced earlier this month never made it out of committee.

The more recent bill included a provision for distributing money generated from betting at the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, which opened in July as the state’s 10th casino. Racing interests were supposed to get a cut of revenue from a 10th Illinois casino, but the General Assembly did not fund that subsidy in 2012. The money remains undistributed, and the January bill would have directed 20- ercent of the funds to racing interests. Chicago-area horsemen’s groups opposed the legislation.

Illinois residents bet about $122 million through account wagering in 2012. In 2011, the state derived about $1.9 million in revenue from such bets.

The law might be revisited in February, when many observers think the General Assembly will attempt to put together legislation to expand gaming in the state. On that front, in an unexpected move Tuesday night, Senate President John Cullerton withdrew a motion that had held in limbo since May 2011 a gaming-expansion bill (SB 744) that passed both legislative houses. The bill – very belatedly – goes to Gov. Pat Quinn, whose original harsh criticism of the legislation was what originally led to the hold.