Illinois Problem Gambling Bill Gets Unanimous Approval In Senate

Written By Matt Boecker on April 3, 2023
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A bill addressing problem gambling received unanimous approval, 54-0, from the Illinois Senate last week. If passed, the bill would force Illinois sportsbooks to provide bettors with hourly pop-up messages informing how much they’ve wagered.

SB 1508 was filed by Sen. Bill Cunningham and received the green light from the IL Senate floor last Thursday. The bill started with the Health and Human Services Committee before moving to the Senate. Now, it goes to the House for another round of voting.

Sports betting was legalized in the Land of Lincoln in 2019 and since then, $19,725,718,150 in wagers have been placed by Illinoisans. With that huge sum of money comes a responsibility from IL lawmakers to make sure responsible gambling is easily accessible to those living in the state.

Details of the responsible gambling bill

SB 1508 would implement a few rules for IL sportsbooks. One being that every hour after a player logs in, a pop-up message must appear to make the player aware of how much they’ve bet.

Included in that pop-up would be hyperlinks and phone numbers to Illinois problem gambling resource information. This would make it easier than ever for those struggling with problem gambling to find help.

When Cunningham filed the bill, he said:

“Illinois has been a leader in the regulation of sports betting, and we need to ensure that we are also addressing the potential harms associated with gambling addiction.”

“By requiring sports wagering apps to display a pop-up message with resources for gambling addiction assistance, we can help individuals who may be struggling with problem gambling access the help they need.”

Two other gambling bills passed the Senate

Two other gambling bills also passed the Senate last week:

  • Bill 323 changes the amount Illinois sportsbook operators would pay to renew their licenses. The fees to the Illinois Gaming Board would change from $150,000 annually to $50,000 every four years.
  • Bill 1462 updates eligibility standards for those with criminal records that seek an occupational license. The IGB would be required to consider the details of the person’s criminal record. Those include: length of time since conviction, number of convictions and the severity of the charges.

All three bills need to pass the House and be signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker to become legal.

Illinois problem gambling by the numbers

Illinois has cashed in lots of tax revenue since sports betting launched. To be exact, IL has earned $247,961,441.

But licensed sports betting has also brought an uptick in problem gambling for residents of the Prairie State. Last year, the Illinois Department of Human Services conducted a state-wide study that surveyed Illinoisans to learn about their gambling habits.

Some information gained from the study includes:

  • 68% of adults said they’d gambled in the previous year.
  • 3.8% of adults had a gambling problem.
  • 7.7% of adults are at risk of becoming problem gamblers.

For reference, the National Council on Problem Gambling defines problem gambling as:

“Behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits. The symptoms include increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, “chasing” losses, and loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences.”

Those numbers will grow if online casinos are legalized in Illinois. So it’s important for Illinois lawmakers to stay ahead of the curve and do everything they can to ensure residents are aware of the problem gambling resources at their disposal.

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Matt Boecker

Matt Boecker is a 2020 graduate of Northern Illinois University hailing from Chicago. Boecker specializes in coverage of sports betting and legalization. Former teammates and coworkers describe him as a nice guy who tries hard and loves the game.

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