Illinois Lawmakers Prepare for Online Gambling Push

This week the Illinois House Gaming Subcommittee discussed a gambling expansion bill that included online gambling. The bill was voted down at the hearing due to a provision that would have allowed six new land-based casinos, but the bill’s sponsors are preparing to push online gambling separately.

The sponsors of the bill, known as S7, attempted to rush it through the legislature just two days before their scheduled recess. Though the measure won the majority vote (5-4), it failed to gain the six votes required to pass out of subcommittee.

This marks the second year in a row Illinois lawmakers have tried to push a gambling expansion in the final hours before the legislature adjourns. In 2017, gaming proponents in the Senate successfully passed legislation containing online gambling and DFS, but the proposal was never discussed in the House.

It is unknown whether S7’s sponsors will make changes and continue to push the same bill, or if they will decouple online gambling and sports betting in an effort to pass those measures separately. The amendments currently included in the bill are the Internet Gaming Act, Sports Wagering Act, and Fantasy Sports Contest Act.

There are still two ways Illinois could legalize online gambling and sports betting before the end of 2018. The first opportunity is not guaranteed, and will only come up if the Governor vetoes the legislature’s budget, forcing them to return and review revenue-related bills like S7. The final opportunity will be when the government returns after the November elections.

Illinois Video Gambling Marketing Size

Current tax distribution from Video Gaming Terminals in Illinois (available on Illinois Gaming Board’s website).

Month (2018)       Establishment Count     VGT Count    Tax (30%)
January               6,379                             28,403           $32,890,859.64 
February              6,395                             28,565           $34,709,462.63  
March                  6,455                             28,992           $42,858,471.76  
April                     6,458                             28,942           $38,571,421.29

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