A series of online gambling and problem gambling bills are currently working their way through the Illinois Legislature. Some of them are making some progress. Meanwhile, others appear to be dead in the water.
Some of the major issues these measures address are legalizing online casinos, attacking problem gambling and deciding if Illinois residents can place bets on local college teams.
PlayIllinois did some digging, and we have the status of all seven bills. We’ll tell you where they are, where they’re heading and the likelihood of them being signed into law.
Problem gambling bill making the most progress
A bill addressing problem gambling is furthest along in the legislative process. SB 1508 has already passed in the State Senate and is now being reviewed by state representatives in the House. The measure has already had two readings on the House floor and passed by the House Gaming Committee.
If passed, the bill would force Illinois sportsbooks to provide bettors with hourly pop-up messages informing how much they’ve wagered. That pop-up would include 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.
The chances of this bill becoming law are very high. It received unanimous approval in the Illinois Senate. There also doesn’t seem to be much pushback on the bill in the Illinois House.
SB323 and SB1462 hit roadblocks in the State House
SB323 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.
Meanwhile, SB1462 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 history. Those include: length of time since conviction, number of convictions and the severity of the charges.
The future looks murky for these two measures. They have only had one reading on the House floor each. They will also likely need to get through both the Rules and Gaming Committees before there can be a vote. However, with time running out on this year’s legislative session, there would need to be a mad dash to push these bills through.
Three online casino bills could be dead in the water
Dreams that legal Illinois online casinos would become a reality this year appear to have been dashed. HB2239 and HB2320 are both measures that would create the Internet Gaming Act. After being re-referred to the House Rules Committee in mid-March, HB2239 has not budged. HB2320 has been stuck in the Rules Committee since Feb. 14, the same day it was introduced by State Rep. Jonathan Carroll.
According to Joe Tabor, director of policy research at the Illinois Policy Institute, bills that get trapped in the House Rules Committee typically don’t find a way to get out.
“[Bills get] stuck in the House Rules Committee where, historically, bills have gone to die,” said Tabor.
Meanwhile, the Senate version of the Internet Gaming Act has also stalled out. After being introduced on Feb. 8 by State Sen. Cristina Castro, SB1655 has not moved out of the Senate Executive Committee, where Castro serves as the chairwoman.
There is a “better luck next year” vibe going on here. It seems like it is time to put legal online casinos in the rearview mirror.
Big question mark on bill allowing online wagers on in-state teams
The bill that causes the ‘Jordan Shrug.’ There isn’t any clear indication of where this bill will end up, leading me to throw up my arms in the classic “I don’t know” pose.
State Rep. Jonathan Carroll introduced HB4041 in the House last month. The bill will allow Illinois online sportsbooks to accept a wager for a sports event involving an Illinois collegiate team if the bet is a tier 1 wager unrelated to an individual athlete’s performance. It is legal for locals to bet on Illinois collegiate teams. However, you can only do it in person at a retail sportsbook.
This bill is currently — you guessed it — stuck in the House Rules Committee. The future of this bill all comes down to where it falls on the priority list of state lawmakers. There is a chance it could get caught up with the bills that are rapidly pushed through near the end of the legislative session. However, it could just as easily falls through the cracks.
Either way, time is running out for all of these bills to become law. The 2023 Illinois Legislative session comes to an end on May 31. However, The House and Senate are scheduled to adjourn on May 19. That gives lawmakers a little more than one week from now to figure out what they want to do with all of the measures they are dealing with.