Online Gambling in Illinois Could Still Happen

by Kyle Miller

IllinoisThe state of Illinois could be up for consideration during two upcoming legislative sessions.

In 2017, we have seen several states consider legalizing online gaming options. From Pennsylvania to Michigan and a handful of other states, there has been avid interest. With online gaming, the states would be able to bring in much-needed revenues as well as provide consumer protections as players are already accessing online gaming but at unregulated sites. Illinois was one such state with the possibility to pass online gaming legislation but efforts seemed to have died out earlier this year. However, now it seems the option may be back on the table.

Upcoming Sessions

In Illinois, there are two sessions coming up in the next few weeks, one in October and one in November. These are veto sessions with the first taking place from October 24th to the 26th and the second taking place from November 7th to the 9th. During these sessions, legislators have the ability to review bills that have been vetoed by the Governor. However, it is also a time frame when the bills that have not reached the desk of the Governor can be reviewed as well.

Back in June, the state Senate of Illinois decided to pass legislation that would legalize as well as regulate online gambling as well as daily fantasy sports. The bill was able to pass with a vote of 42 to 10. The bill would allow casinos and race tracks that are already licensed in the state to apply for an online operating license.

The bill set taxes for online gaming at 15% of gross gaming revenues. For the first five years of operation, the first $100 million made by an operator would only be taxed at 10%. However, this measure also had a bad actor clause in place which means that any operator who offered services online when they shouldn’t have, are left out of operation. Basically, this means brands like PokerStars, who already operates in New Jersey, would not be able to offer gaming in the state.

Daily fantasy sports would be taxed based on a sliding scale. For the first $1 million in gross gaming revenues, the tax is set at 5%. For up to $3 million, the tax is 7.5%. Up to $8 million has a tax of 10% and over $8 million has a tax of 15%. For licensing fees, operators would have to pay $500 if they make less than $100,000 with $25,000 paid by those who make over $10 million in the industry.

What Could Happen

Unfortunately, this bill stalled in the House and didn’t move forward. The Governor could have vetoed the bill and this would not have been surprising as Bruce Rauner has shown in the past that he is opposed to expanding gambling in the state.

According to findings by Online Poker Report, there are three measures that should be watched to see if anything happens as far as online gambling is concerned. The first is H 479. This measure was passed by the Senate and now sits in the House. The second is S 209 which is a measure that has been referred to the House Executive Committee’s Gaming Subcommittee just this past week. The last bill is S 1531, a measure that has also moved to the House and is on the House floor.

It seems the first bill has the best chance to move forward but there is no telling what legislators will do. It seems that time and time again, when a bill is up for consideration and online gambling could be passed into law, something happens to stop it. We shall see in the coming days if any of these bills move forward into legislation.