Place your bets: Illinois could pass legislation to legalize spo - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Place your bets: Illinois could pass legislation to legalize sports betting

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PEORIA, Ill. (WEEK) -

The Super Bowl, March Madness, or who's going to win the latest game in the Crosstown Classic. Sports betting takes place every day, everywhere. 

According to the American Gaming Association, at least $150 billion a year is wagered on sports. 97% of that is bet illegally through outlets like bookies, off-shore websites and sports books.

The  state of Illinois could see large sums revenue flow in from the legalization of sports betting. How it will exactly look here in the Land of Lincoln is still up for negotiation. The "Create Sports Wagering Act" could be passed within weeks if the House agrees to take a vote.

"Last year 1.6 billion dollars left Illinois and just went to the five surrounding states," 35th District Senator, Dave Syverson, said. "We need to pass a gaming bill to keep revenue in Illinois and to bring people in Illinois. The same is true with sports betting."

As for those opposed to the bill.

"Alcohol has been legal for many years," 15th District Senator, Nepoleon Harris, said. "There's a lot of people who don't partake. Don't drink alcohol. This is no different." 

Professional sports organizations like the NFL, worry betting will affect the integrity of the game. Point-shaving or athletes and coaches wagering on their own games are legitimate concerns. From the NCAA standpoint, Bradley University President, Gary Roberts, feels the integrity of any athletic event  will be improved upon.

"I think people's obsession with this is misplaced," Bradley University President, Gary Roberts, said. "I don't think that big board betting on athletic events is more likely to corrupt them. If any affect, it's actually going to make it better and less corrupt because there's more monitoring going on." 
 

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