February 10, 2023 3 min read


Illinois Senator Submits Bill to Legalize Online Casinos

State Sen. Cristina Castro of Illinois is once again attempting to pass legislation for online casinos, this time with the introduction of bill SB1656

SBC Americas reported that this legislation would allow casinos and racetracks in Illinois to apply for an internet gaming license, which can include up to three skins. The license will cost $250,000 and will be regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board.

The New Legislation Introduces a 15% Tax Rate

The new bill introduced by Sen. Castro stipulates that the tax rate on adjusted gross revenue would be set at 15%, and operators will also be able to deduct promotional credits. Unlike Illinois sports betting, there will be no in-person registration requirement for online casinos.

However, the legislation does address responsible gambling and diversity efforts. Operators must establish a self-exclusion list and display responsible gambling language on their websites. They will also need to provide annual reports on their diversity goals and progress.

The bill has also set out short deadlines for applicants, particularly those with existing interactive gaming licenses, to avoid the slow processes experienced by Massachusetts and Maryland in the sports betting industry.

Castro’s previous effort to legalize online casinos did not gain much traction, but with the continued success of sports betting in Illinois, lawmakers are now more open to expanding into the online gambling market.

Recent Report Showed Illinois Likely to Introduce Online Gambling

A recent report by Bonus.com revealed that Illinois may be among the states that legalize online gambling soon.

While the process of legalization may take some time, the benefits of a regulated gambling market are clear. The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the economy, and the legalization of online gambling could provide a much-needed revenue stream. Moreover, the regulation would ensure player protection, as licensed operators must follow rules and honor self-exclusion, whereas illegal operators do not.

Despite a failed attempt to pass the Illinois Internet Gaming Act in 2021, the topic may be up for discussion once again this year. 

However, the introduction of internet casino gaming in Illinois may still face an uphill battle, as the state already receives a substantial amount of tax revenue from video gaming terminals (VGTs). In 2022, Illinois received nearly $786 million in taxes from VGT play, which is more than double the revenue from traditional casinos outside of sports wagering. 

Furthermore, with the approval of six new casino licenses in the 2019 gaming expansion bill, including a location in downtown Chicago, it is expected that these venues will be operational by 2023, either temporarily or permanently. The added competition from these new establishments could make it even harder for internet casino gaming to gain traction in Illinois.


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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