Illinois Sports Betting Bill Targeting Dave & Buster’s Moves Forward

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Illinois sports betting

As the legislative session winds down, a lawmaker continued his push to outlaw Illinois sports betting at entertainment facilities like Dave & Busters.

The Illinois House Gaming Committee amended House Bill 394 to include Rep. Dan Didech’s Family Amusement Wagering Prohibition Act on Thursday. The Illinois sports betting language now heads to the House floor. Illinois’s legislative session runs until May 24.

“The state of Illinois closely regulates our robust gaming industry to ensure that businesses are operating in a manner that is fair for players and safe for families,” Didech, who chairs the committee, said following the meeting. “We do not need gambling to irresponsibly expand into family-friendly environments.”

Reasons for Illinois sports betting bill

Didech explained to LSR earlier this month why he introduced the bill prohibiting family entertainment areas from facilitating and advertising gambling activities. On May 2, Didech filed House Bill 5832 in response to Dave & Buster’s announcement it planned to roll out real-money wagering on its games across the US.

“Gambling entities, businesses involved in Illinois and elsewhere, it’s a heavily regulated sector for a whole host of good reasons,” Didech told LSR earlier this month. “When the press reports came out earlier this week that Dave & Busters was in partnership to begin unregulated and unlicensed gambling games on-premise, that raises a whole host of issues of if it’s possible in a way we consider safe and responsible.” 

The Gaming Committee amended HB 394 to include HB 5832’s language. The bill previously made a technical change to the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975.

Along with Illinois, the company’s announcement has seen scrutiny from gaming commissions in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Enough time to pass?

Earlier this month, Didech said he believed three weeks was enough time to pass the sports betting legislation.

He has talked with colleagues and the governor’s office about the issue. 

The initial Family Amusement Wagering Prohibition Act legislation had more than 25 co-sponsors.

Dave & Buster’s argument for its product

Dave & Buster’s partnered with Lucra for the new product, and the companies argue the offering is a game of skill. Customers at the establishment can “compete for real money against each other within the Dave & Buster’s app.”

Lucra said it would limit bet sizes and require users to be older than 18.

The companies avoid using the terms “bet” and “wager.” 

Photo by Shutterstock/Jeff Bukowski