- The Coronavirus is causing states like Maryland to hold their legislative sessions behind closed doors as a precaution.
- Other states are also considering this or suspending sessions altogether which could have an effect on sports betting bills being heard for legalization.
CHICAGO – The Coronavirus is affecting everything nationwide, including state legislative sessions. On Wednesday, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker established that the Illinois General Assembly sessions are canceled to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
If all goes well, the session will reconvene March 24 in both Houses but that is dependent upon the situation in the state regarding COVID-19 at that time.
“Given the recommendations for social distancing as a safeguard to slow the spread of this virus, the Illinois Senate is going to do its part,” said Senate President Don Harmon.
Chicago has had 25 reported cases of the illness so far. Illinois’ General Assembly is not the only one that is taking precautions against the spread of the Coronavirus.
Maryland’s Legislative Session
Maryland’s General Assembly has not canceled their sessions but they have made all further hearings set behind closed doors.
All bills that will be presented to the Senate and House Committees will do so with only the bill sponsor to speak on it as to not have extra people in the room.
Currently, Maryland has Senate Bill 4 to legalize sports betting which is moving forward in the House but will these closed sessions affect the outcome for this bill and others that will be heard solely by the sponsors themselves?
Senate Bill 4 is set to be heard by the House Ways and Means Committee on March 19. The legislative session in Maryland ends on April 6. After passing through the Senate, the House would need to act quickly with only bill sponsor Senator Craig Zucker (D) available to answer questions during the upcoming hearings.
What Could This Mean For Other States
Other states could begin holding their sessions behind closed doors or suspending them until further notice due to the Coronavirus. This could play a huge factor in which bills will be able to get their time on the Floor. In cases like these, it would be treated as a triage situation and sports betting is not one that is a pressing issue.
The future of legal sports betting in states currently listening to bills on the subject could be affected in a negative way because of the spread of the COVID-19 and how it’s causing legislative sessions to react.
As it is, professional sports organizations are dropping like flies and suspending their seasons for precautionary measures so there may not be much to bet on for states at the moment, making it even less of a big deal for lawmakers to prioritize during this nationwide state of emergency.
Christina has been writing for as long as she can remember and does dedicated research on the newly regulated sports betting market. She comes from a family of sports lovers that engage in friendly bets from time to time. During the winter months, you can find Christina baking cookies and beating the entire staff at Mario Kart…the N64 version of course.