May 30, 2024 3 min read

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Illinois iGaming Legislation Stalls as Session Ends

Both bills sought to create a legal base for online casinos in Illinois, suggesting a 15% tax on the revenue generated by these operators.

As the Illinois legislative session came to a close last week, efforts to legalize online casinos in the state encountered another setback. Two significant proposals — House Bill 2239, presented by State Rep. Edgar Gonzalez Jr., and Senate Bill 1565, sponsored by State Sen. Cristina Castro — were unable to progress beyond the committee stage, effectively halting any movement on the issue until the next legislative session begins in January 2025.

Proposed iGaming Tax Revenue in Illinois Fails to Advance Amid Legislative Gridlock

Both bills aimed to establish a legal framework for online casinos in Illinois, proposing a 15% tax on the revenue generated by these operators. The sponsors of these bills emphasized the potential tax revenue as a crucial benefit, especially in light of the state’s ongoing budgetary needs.

Despite these arguments, the Subcommittee on Gaming, Wagering, and Racing in the Illinois State Senate and the Gaming Committee in the Illinois State House did not advance the proposals. The lack of consensus among lawmakers meant that neither bill reached the floor for debate or a vote before the session ended.

This legislative impasse is not new to Illinois. Gonzalez and Castro have previously introduced similar bills, only to see them repeatedly stalled in committee. The lawmakers’ consistent efforts reflect a broader debate on the role and regulation of iGaming within the state. Online casinos have been more contentious than sports betting, which is already legal in Illinois and over 30 other states. In contrast, only six states currently have legal iGaming markets.

Physical Casinos in Illinois Resist iGaming Integration, Citing Competitive Concerns

One major point of contention against iGaming has been the potential impact that internet gambling could have on brick-and-mortar establishments. Some states have demonstrated that iGaming can complement or even enhance traditional gambling operations without harming income flows. 

However, this is not what Illinois’ physical casinos believe. They are against internet gaming and want to know where they fit into any further expanded gaming market. They are seeking clarification about license permissions as well.

Findings from studies undertaken in Michigan indicate that the introduction of online betting has not impeded post-COVID-19 recovery of retail casino revenues. Nevertheless, caution prevails among Illinois’ physical gambling facilities which fear a different story might unfold should they find themselves operating alongside a new highly competitive virtual arena.

It may not be until January 2025 when Illinois legislators get another chance to reconsider their stance on internet gambling laws. It is expected that Gonzalez as well as Castro will need to reintroduce their bills. 

Consequently, debate over advantages and disadvantages of bringing iGaming to Illinois shall continue while the state itself remains an onlooker in an industry which keeps growing bigger day by day.

Author

Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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