Illinois Online Casino Bills Still Alive With A Month To Go

Written By Phil West on April 25, 2024
Chicago skyline, signifying Illinois igaming bills still in both state legislative chambers

The future of iGaming in Illinois is still uncertain, but bills to legalize online casinos in both the House and Senate remain alive ahead of the 2024 session closing on May 24.

House Bill 2239, filed by Rep. Edgar Gonzalez, Jr. in February, is currently residing in the House Rules Committee after moving there earlier this month.

Senate Bill 1656, sponsored by Sen. Cristina Castro, is a little further along in its process. It has received a third reading deadline of May 3. However, it’s still sitting in the Senate Subcommittee on Gaming, Wagering, and Racing with no scheduled hearing date.

Castro’s bill calls for a 15% tax on online casino revenue

Until Illinois online casino play becomes legal, players can participate in sweepstakes and social casinos. They offer prizes that can redeemed for real money.

Sportsbook operators’ adjusted gross revenue would be taxed at 15% under Senate Bill 1656. It calls for “no more than three individually branded Internet gaming skins.” The tax revenue is earmarked for the State Gaming Fund, which supports the operations of the Illinois Gaming Board and also funnels money into the state’s General Fund to fund education.

Through a spokesperson, Castro said this week that lawmakers are taking their time with the legislation to get it right.

“We are considering a measured approach to new gaming expansion in Illinois, and I’m looking forward to continuing discussions on how our state can best take advantage of the revenue generated through online gaming.”

Online casinos have been a boon for Michigan

Earlier this month, CBS Chicago explored the online casino issue in the state. It concluded that iGaming has failed to muster the same level of enthusiasm sports betting had before it was legalized.

In the article, attorney and iGaming advocate Jeff Ifrah said an online casino industry in Illinois could generate a massive amount of money in tax revenue.

“Illinois started to look at legalizing online casinos, which would again bring online poker, online roulette, live dealer products. It’s certainly an area that could bring new revenue to Illinois. We are talking tax revenues in the hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Ifrah said he has commissioned a study to dispel the concerns from retail casinos that iGaming would eat into their profits.

Eric Bussis, chief economist for the Michigan Department of Treasury, told Michigan Bridge in February the state has collected $354 million from internet gaming, far surpassing initial projections of $30 million to $40 million.

“This is significantly higher than what anyone figured at the time.”

Should iGaming pass in Illinois, one report projects that online casinos in the state could generate $275 million in annual tax revenue.

Besides Michigan, only six other states offer online casinos:

– Connecticut.

– Delaware.

– New Jersey.

– Pennsylvania.

– Rhode Island.

– West Virginia.

Phil West Avatar
Written by
Phil West

Phil West is a longtime journalist based in Austin, Texas, whose bylines have appeared in The Daily Dot, Nautilus, Pro Soccer USA, Howler, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Antonio Express-News, Austin American-Statesman, and Austin Chronicle. He has also written two books about soccer.

View all posts by Phil West
Privacy Policy