Folks are waiting to find out if Illinois online casinos will become a reality in The Prairie State. Unfortunately, the bills that could make that happen have run into some roadblocks on their way to becoming law.
Illinois online casino bills HB2239 and SB1656 both hit snags on March 10 when they entered committees where they could die due to inaction. However, there is still hope for the Internet Gaming Act before the Illinois General Assembly adjourns on May 19.
Illinois online casino bills re-routed
HB2239 was re-routed from the House Gaming Committee to the House Rules Committee. That same day, SB1656 moved from the Senate Executive Committee to the Senate Assignments Committee.
Lawmakers appear to be treating the bills the same way right now. State Senator Cristina Castro introduced SB1655. She is also the chair of the Senate Executive Committee.
Meanwhile, The House Gaming Committee canceled its March 1 and 8 hearings on the measure before re-referring it to Rules Committee.
This does not bode well for HB2239, according to Joe Tabor, director of policy research at the Illinois Policy Institute.
“[Bills get] stuck in the House Rules Committee where, historically, bills have gone to die,” said Tabor.
Based on the performance of similar marketplaces, HB2239’s 15% tax rate may generate up to $240 million in annual tax revenue for Illinois. However, it can potentially be as low as $160 million. That depends on the impact of uncapped promotional deductions.
Meanwhile, HB2320, which differs from the first two Illinois online casino bills by having a 12% tax rate, hasn’t left the House Rules Committee since being introduced on Valentine’s Day.
Responsible gambling bill passes Senate Committee
Illinois’ two online casino bills are currently in a holding pattern. However, there is another bill that appears to be moving along.
A responsible gambling bill recently passed out of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The measure would require online sports betting operators to show a pop-up message directing customers to a website with resources for gambling addiction assistance after every ten wagers placed. The bill is on track for a full vote in the Senate.
State Sen. Bill Cunningham proposed SB 1508. The bill would add an additional level of responsible gambling information beyond what the law requires in both the Sports Wagering Act and Administrative Code.
SB1656 also has responsible gambling initiatives in it, including:
- A requirement that the Illinois Gaming Board develop responsible gaming measures, including a statewide gaming database of those excluded from gambling.
- Mechanisms to verify that gambling customers are 21 or older.
- Each gaming site shall display the words, “If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, help is available. Call (toll-free telephone number)” or comparable language approved by IGB.
- Each gaming app shall include mechanisms for temporary and permanent self-exclusion.