DraftKings CEO Dubs Illinois A ‘Dark Horse’ For iGaming Legislation

Written By Phil West on February 20, 2024
Photo of black horse for story on Jason Robins saying Illinois is a dark horse for igaming legislation in 2024

DraftKings Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Jason Robins dubbed Illinois a “dark horse” in the current round of iGaming legislation proposals moving throughout the country.

Robins, on a quarterly earnings call on Friday, noted that the Illinois Legislature, considering two similar-but-different bills this session, could deliver legal online casinos in Illinois.

Robins has his eyes on Illinois for potential iGaming legislation

Responding to a question about iGaming being adopted in New York, he told investors:

“There’s a few states that I think are getting momentum on iGaming now. And it will be hard to say, but I think we’re going to get at least one or two this year, if I had to guess. Some of the states, I’m hearing some momentum in include Maryland, Wyoming is one.

So, you know, I think there’s a few states that could consider it. I think a dark horse is Illinois. Really, what I think you saw and there’s kind of two things that I think are playing out here.”

He went on to explain:

“One is, a number of different states wanted to do OSB first and see how that went, and that’s still ramping for them. And so, the draw for that reason of new tax revenues from online gaming isn’t as strong if you just launched online sports betting and you’re waiting to see how it’s ramping and you’re still getting more and more accustomed to and comfortable with it.

The second thing is, you know, that we talked a few years ago about post-COVID and how that was going to be a real catalyst given states would need tax revenue. What we ended up seeing was that so much federal money was pumped into the state’s coffers that that really dragged — you know, over the next few years, it kind of extended that time line a bit. But now that’s, you know, I think, coming to an end in many states, they’re starting to see budgets that really look a lot like the budgets four or five years ago in many states and the surpluses in some of these states are no longer there.”

‘A wave of iGaming legislation’

Based on that, he added:

“I think as OSB legislation continues to move through the states, I think you’re going to see a wave of iGaming legislation start to materialize over the course of the next year or two.”

HB 2239 and SB 1656

House Bill 2239 is one of two internet gaming bills before Land of Lincoln legislators this session.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Edgar Gonzalez, Jr. and promised as part of his campaign platform, “creates the Internet Gaming Act,” according to its language, and “authorizes an Internet gaming operator to offer Internet gaming in accordance with the provisions of the Act.” It is currently housed in the House Gaming Committee.

It was actually filed in 2023, bouncing between the Rules and Games Committees before the session ended.

There’s a similar bill that was also filed in the Senate last year, Senate Bill 1656, still awaiting its first hearing. That bill was introduced by Sen. Cristina Castro, who chairs the Senate Executive Committee, and it’s currently being considered by the Subcommittee on Gaming, Wagering, and Racing.

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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.

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