Legislative Session Ends Without Movement on iGaming

Written By Dan Holmes on May 28, 2024
Illinois state house, where igaming legislation stalled in committee this year.

Two bills that would have legalized online casinos in Illinois stalled in committee as the state legislative session concluded last week. In the end, consensus could not be formed to push either bill to a vote.

House Bill 2239, introduced by State Rep. Edgar Gonzalez Jr., and Senate Bill 1565, sponsored by State Sen. Cristina Castro, failed to escape the committee process and come to a debate and vote on Friday in Springfield.

The Subcommittee on Gaming, Wagering, and Racing in the Illinois State Senate and the Gaming Committee in the Illinois State House effectively shelved both proposals.

What’s next for iGaming in Illinois?

The earliest state lawmakers can again consider online casinos or iGaming is January 2025, when a new biennium begins. That means Rep. Gonzalez or Sen. Castro would need to reintroduce new bills next year on online casinos in Illinois.

Castro and Gonzalez presented nearly identical bills, each calling for a 15% tax on revenue from online casino operators. Both lawmakers and their supporters have cited the need for new tax revenue as a primary reason for backing online casinos.

Only six states have active iGaming markets in the U.S., compared to more than 30 with legal sports betting. Online casinos have been more controversial in many states than sportsbooks, and in some cases, brick-and-mortar casinos have opposed them or held them up with lobbying efforts on licensing and their role in a new online gaming market.

Neighboring Michigan has online casinos and has not seen a negative impact on retail casino revenue, according to recent studies, though many casinos are still attempting to return to pre-COVID-19 revenue levels.

Gonzalez and Castro have both introduced iGaming bills numerous times, only to see them stuck in committee. Their bills call for licensees to be permitted as many as three “skins” for an online casino.

Photo by Seth Perlman / AP Images
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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is a contributor for PlayIllinois with plenty of experience under his belt. Dan has written three books about sports and previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He also has extensive experience covering the launch of sports betting in other states, including Ohio, Massachusetts and Maryland. Currently, Dan resides in Michigan with his family.

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