Online Gambling & DFS Bill Approved in Illinois

by Kyle Miller

IllinoisThe Illinois Senate has approved a bill that would legalize online gambling and daily fantasy sports within the state.

Online gambling as well as daily fantasy sports continue to be a hot topic in the United States. Several states are considering legalizing both activities or one or the other this year. The main state that everyone has been watching as far as online gambling is concerned is Pennsylvania. This state has been in the running to become the next to offer online casino and poker gaming for some time now. However, a surprising turn of events may put another state as the next to join Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey in the online gambling industry.

Illinois Senate Approves Bill

The state Senate of Illinois has stunned the online gambling community in the United States by passing a bill that would approve online gambling as well as daily fantasy sports activities. The bill was passed in the Senate by a vote of 42 to 10. This was surprising to many as the vote was overwhelmingly in approval. The state has yet to consider such legislation and in most cases, legislators decide to vote no in the beginning when such bills are up for consideration.

Currently the House of Representatives have adjourned without considering the legislation. They will not be back in session until the 8th of June so there is still some time before we will know if the measure will continue to move forward. In the meantime, online gaming enthusiasts are encouraged to call local representatives to hopefully persuade them to pass the legislation when it is considered for a vote in the House.

Understanding the Bill

The current bill was created in the beginning to push for legislation of daily fantasy sports. However, online gambling was added to the measure in order to provide a way for the casino operators of the state to become involved. Operators of casino gaming see DFS as a competitor so providing online gambling gives such operators equal footing.

It is unknown as to if the House will be on board with the measure, specifically since it involves online gambling. The House is in charge of approving a new budget for the state and online gambling would be a great way in which to bring in much-needed funds.

The bill being considered is known as HB 479. With this measure, an Internet Gaming Act would be created as well as a Division of Internet Gaming in the Gaming Board of the state. The bill would allow online casino gaming as well as poker options. Licenses would be up for grabs only to those who currently operate horse racing facilities or state licensed casinos.

Horse racing operators will have had to conducted over 30 days of live racing last year but two licenses will be up for grabs that can be obtained by operators who have been issued a license for racing after last year. Those who are successful in the application processed and approved, will need to pay $10 million in upfront fees as a deposit against tax obligations in the future. Taxes will have a set rate of 15% on gross gaming revenues.

Within the first five years of the licensing, operators will only be taxed 10% on the first $100 million of their annual revenues. Anything above $100 million will be taxed at 15%. Licensees for online gaming will be limited to no more than two online gaming skins and each must be created in line with a brand that is owned by the licensee or those affiliated with the license holder within the US.

This is a surprising turn of events and we are sure to keep track of the state when the House is back in session to see if this legislation is able to move forward.