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Illinois Online Casino Legislation Is Stagnant, But Not Entirely Dead

Written By Matthew Kredell | Updated:
Internet Gambling

With three weeks left in the Illinois legislative session, online casino hasn’t generated any public discussion in the state.

Illinois Rep. Dan Didech, who chairs the Illinois House Gaming Committee, has held one hearing but did not put Rep. Edgar Gonzalez’s HB2239 on the agenda. Didech said he doesn’t expect movement on Illinois online casino this session but wouldn’t rule it out. Illinois’ legislative session is set to end May 24.

“There’s not a ton of momentum for iGaming this year, so I think it’s probably a long shot, but stranger things have happened,” Didech told PlayUSA. “Gaming is an issue that sometimes comes together toward the end of the session.”

As to why online casino legislation hasn’t received any discussion this session, Didech said the state’s budgetary needs haven’t required it.

“For a variety of reasons, the state budget has been on much more stable footing the last few years and we expect that to continue going forward. So we’re not seeing fiscal pressures to generate those sorts of revenues.”

Gonzalez’s bill would create the Internet Gaming Act. It would allow for three skins per internet gaming license and a 15% tax on internet gaming. It was re-referred to the Rules Committee on April 5.

There’s also an online casino bill in the Senate

In the Senate, Sen. Cristina Castro’s SB1656 faces a third-reading deadline on May 3. But Castro told PlayUSA that missing the deadline wouldn’t necessarily mean the bill is dead. Online casino language could still become part of budget negotiations.

“We are still in the early stages of the legislative session with weeks of budget negotiations and passing legislation still on the horizon. My colleagues and I will continue discussing numerous revenue-generating proposals in the coming weeks, including internet gaming.”

Problem gambling task force bill

Earlier in the session Didech introduced legislation to create a problem gambling task force. House Bill 5307 would “provide recommendations to the General Assembly on how the State should continue to meet its responsibility to assist those who suffer from a gambling problem or disorder.”

The bill was re-referred to the Rules Committee on April 19.

“I think our gambling expansion has been a success for Illinois, but it’s our responsibility to be aware of the effects of that legislation and what, if anything, we need to do to mitigate those effects,” Didech told PlayUSA in February. “Anything we do to address problem gambling needs to be data and evidence-driven.”

You can keep track of online casino legislation in Illinois and other states through our online casino bill tracker.

Photo by Wayne Parry/AP file photo
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Matthew Kredell

Matthew Kredell serves as senior lead writer of legislative affairs involving online gambling at PlayUSA. He began covering efforts to legalize and regulate online gambling in 2007 after federal passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act disrupted his hobby of playing small-stakes online poker. He has since interviewed more than 300 lawmakers around the country and written extensively about online gambling legislation. He has led coverage of bills to legalize online gambling in most states. A lifelong Angeleno and USC journalism alum, Matthew started his career working as a sportswriter for a decade at the Los Angeles Daily News. He has written on a variety of topics for Playboy Magazine, Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and ESPN.com.

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