Illinois will once again consider online casino bill

Illinois statehouse interior

After an unsuccessful attempt to pass her online casino legislation in 2021, Illinois State Sen. Cristina Castro is back with a new bill, SB1656.

Illinois casinos and racetracks can apply for an internet gaming license with up to three skins on that license. The cost of an initial license is $250,000. The Illinois Gaming Board will oversee and regulate the industry.

The tax rate would be 15% on adjusted gross revenue. Additionally, the bill would allow operators to deduct promotional credit.

Unlike Illinois sports betting, which launched with a mandatory in-person registration requirement, there are no such requirements attached to this legislation.

There are, however, stipulations in the legislation to address both responsible gambling and diversity efforts.

Operators would need to establish and adhere to a self-exclusion list. Additionally, operators would need to prominently display RG language on their online casino sites.

Like Massachusetts and Maryland did for sports betting operators, the bill also aims to set forth for online casinos when it comes to diversity in hiring and vendor spending. Licensees will need to provide an annual report with their goals for the forthcoming year as well as how they have performed on previous goals.

Unlike Maryland and Massachusetts, which were criticized for how slow their processes around sports betting were, this bill also laid out short deadlines to fast-track applicants, particularly applicants with existing interactive gaming licenses in other jurisdictions.

Castro’s last effort to legalize online casinos did not make much headway, but hopes are higher that, after the continued success of Illinois sports betting, lawmakers will be more willing to consider online gambling expansion.