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Online Casino Bill Dead in Illinois - Or Is It?

May 7, 2024

Throughout the winter and early part of spring, there have been online/mobile casino rumblings running through the Illinois state legislature. The hope has been that something would hit the House floor before the end of the current legislative session, which ends on May 24. As of yet, nothing has cleared the Illinois House Gaming Committee, which is chaired by Illinois Rep. Dan Didech.

To date, Rep. Didech has only held one committee meeting. At the time, Rep. Edgar Gonzalez’s bill HB 2239 was awaiting consideration by the committee. So far, the bill still has not been presented to the committee nor does there appear to be any intention to do so. Just the same, Didech is hopeful something might happen as indicated by this statement made to PlayUSA:

“There’s not a ton of momentum for iGaming this year, so I think it’s probably a long shot, but stranger things have happened. Gaming is an issue that sometimes comes together toward the end of the session.”

When asked why there has been a reluctance to consider online/mobile casino legislation, the House Representative indicated there doesn't seem to be a need for additional tax revenue based on what has been put forward in next year's budget. 

Under the category of "for what it's worth," HB 2239 includes the following components:

  • The bill would be called the Internet Gaming Act

  • Each online/mobile licensee would be able to have up to three (3) skins

  • A tax rate of 15% would be charged on gross revenue

It is worth noting that Rep. Didech has no intention of giving up the fight. As long as the current legislative session is open, he plans to keep pushing forward to see if he can drum up some interest in his bill.

Senate Online Casino Bill

While Rep. Didech is fighting the online/mobile casino fight in the House, Sen. Cristina Castro is fighting her own similar battle in the Senate. Her bill SB 1656 has progressed to the point of reaching its third reading, which has a deadline of May 3. According to Sen. Castro, missing that deadline would not necessarily kill the bill. There is always the possibility that budget concerns will cause legislators to search for revenue streams. This is what she told reporters from PlayUSA:

“We are still in the early stages of the legislative session with weeks of budget negotiations and passing legislation still on the horizon. My colleagues and I will continue discussing numerous revenue-generating proposals in the coming weeks, including internet gaming.”

House Preemptively Addressing Problem Gambling Issues

While Rep. Didech is trying to create interest in the aforementioned online/mobile casino bill, he is simultaneously pushing another bill that would create a task force to look at potential problem gambling issues.

The relevant bill is HB 5307. This bill would help create the framework that's necessary to make sure that Illinois online gamblers would have access to meaningful problem gambling resources. This bill was sent to the Illinois House Gaming Committee for consideration on April 19.

 


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