Online casino bill assigned to Illinois gaming committee

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Lawmakers in Illinois are making another attempt to bring online casinos to the Land of Lincoln.

A piece of legislation that would authorize regulated iGaming in Illinois has been introduced in the state’s House. The bill, which was first filed in 2023, has now been assigned to the House’s Gaming Committee. House Bill 2239, sponsored by Rep. Edgar Gonzalez, Jr., proposes to create the Internet Gaming Act providing Illinois and its local governments with a new revenue stream.

In November 2023, gross gaming revenue for regulated iGaming markets in the U.S. reached $557.2 million.

HB 2239, which is being considered in 2024 due to Illinois having two-year legislative sessions, proposes to authorize regulated iGaming to operators who are awarded a license or service providers that have partnerships with a licensee. An operator that is granted a license after paying a $250,000 fee is permitted to offer up to three gaming skins. Those skins can remain active if operators dish out an additional $100,000 annually to maintain their license.

Persons 21 or older are permitted to wager in Illinois under HB 2239 with a 15% privilege tax imposed on bets. Tax revenue from iGaming is to be allocated toward the Illinois Gaming Fund.

The bill also includes steps to ensure responsible gambling by Illinois residents. Operators in the state are required to include signage on their platforms that provide gambling problem services.

Previous attempts to authorize iGaming

HB 2239 adds to a growing list of iGaming-related bills proposed in Illinois.

Last month, Senate Bill 1656 was re-assigned to the House’s Executive Committee after first being introduced in February 2023. SB 1656, introduced by Sen. Cristina Castro, takes a similar approach to previously proposed bills. The piece of legislation would allow Illinois casinos and racetracks to have up to three skins on a single online gaming license, which also costs $250,000.

The bill deploys a 15% tax rate on adjusted gross revenue with promotional credit deductions for operators. SB 1656 calls for a mandatory self-exclusion list that operators must adhere to. Operators are also required to display responsible gambling language on their platforms.

SB 1656 followed a previous failed effort by Castro in 2021 to bring iGaming to Illinois.