Illinois Online Casino Bill Stalls

A bill legalizing online casino gambling has stalled in the Illinois House, but still could come up before the session ends May 24. State Rep. Dan Didech said the state budget is stable so lawmakers aren’t seeking other revenue sources.

Illinois Online Casino Bill Stalls

The Illinois legislative session is set to end on May 24, possibly without lawmakers considering HB 2239, which would legalize online casino gambling. State Rep. Dan Didech, chair of the Illinois House Gaming Committee, has held one hearing but the bill, sponsored by state Rep. Edgar Gonzalez, was not on the agenda. Still, Didech said the situation could change. “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. Gaming is an issue that sometimes comes together toward the end of the session,” he said.

Didech noted the state’s budget does not necessarily require the additional revenue online casino gambling could generate. He said, “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.”

HB 2239, which would create the Internet Gaming Act, would allow three skins per internet gaming license and charge operators 15 percent tax on online gaming revenue.

State Senator Cristina Castro, sponsor of the casino gambling bill SB 1656, said online casino language still may be included in budget negotiations. She said, “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 services also were addressed in the House. Didech’s HB 5307 would create a problem gambling task force and “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.” Didech stated, “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. Anything we do to address problem gambling needs to be data and evidence-driven.”

The bill has been in the Rules Committee since April 19.