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Illinois Governor’s Spending Plan Includes More Than Doubling Sports Wagering Tax

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on February 23, 2024
llinois Gov. JB Pritzker Participates In Debate

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, a second-term Democrat, has proposed a $52.7 billion state spending plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1. He suggests tax increases that mainly affect business, including sports betting.

The measures, announced on Feb. 21, would leave the state with additional money in the budget rather than a previously estimated deficit. The state presumes a nearly $128 million surplus under the spending plan.

Gov. Pritzker proposed increasing Illinois’ sports betting tax to 35%

In his Illinois state fiscal year 2025 budget, Pritzker suggests more than doubling the sports betting tax paid by the US gambling companies, from 15% to 35%, which would produce a tax revenue increase to an estimated $200 million.

Pritzker also wants to extend a cap on the deduction, allowing corporations to reduce their taxable income for $526 million in savings.

FY25 revenue forecast benefits also include raising $101 million by revising a policy that allows retailers to keep a portion of the sales tax they collect from shoppers.

An additional $175 million would be released from the state’s general funds by shifting mass transit costs from sales taxes to Road Fund.

According to the article by the Associated Press, Pritzker told lawmakers in Springfield:

“I wish we had big surpluses to work with this year to take on every one of the very real challenges we face. It’s important to note that while this budget is tight this year, our fiscal house is in order, and we are able to keep our commitments to the people of Illinois.”

Illinois sports betting handle exceeded $1B for four consecutive months

Pritzker legalized sports betting in Illinois in 2019 as part of a vast gaming expansion bill. He played a significant role in launching Illinois online sports betting during COVID-19.

Illinois quickly became one of the three top gambling markets after New York and New Jersey.

Reporting $1.3 billion in handle in December 2023, Illinois sportsbooks surpassed a record-breaking November figure:

  • $1.3 billion in December
  • $1.4 billion in November
  • $1.1 billion in October
  • $1.08 billion in September

Last year, Illinois collected $150.3 million in taxes from eight online sportsbook operators and 11 brick-and-mortar sportsbooks.

If Pritzker succeeds in passing the increase, he would be the second governor to raise the state sports betting tax in a year, after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine managed to do so last July. The 35% state tax rate would rank Illinois after New York (51% tax rate), New Hampshire (51%) and Pennsylvania (36%).

Illinois is one of the states that could look to expand gaming options, but Illinois online casino legislation will likely have to wait until next year to show much advancement.

For updates on state legislation, follow our online casino bill tracker.

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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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