Illinois looking to legalize online casinos in 2021

Illinois House Reps. are making moves towards legalizing iGaming in the state. Find out why, how, and when.

Illinois state Representatives have filed bills this week that would legalize online casinos.

State-representatives Robert Rita (D-Blue Island) and Jonathan Carroll (D-Northbrook) have filed HB3142, also known as the Internet Gaming Act. This bill would allow land-based casinos in Illinois to apply for internet gaming licenses. 

HB3142 would allow operators to operate their online casinos across the state, and all sites would be available for all players above the age of 21. The Illinois Gaming Board would also gain the power to enter into agreements with other territories to operate multi-jurisdictional games such as online poker. 

What would Illinois do with the added revenue? 

Illinois has already seen great success through legalized online sports betting. In December the state brought in over $12 million in additional tax revenue from sports betting alone. The proposed tax on iGaming is to be the same as it is on sports betting (12%). 

All of this additional revenue would be paid into the State Gaming Fund. Illinois’ Department of Human Services would receive $10 million of this tax revenue that would be used to administer problem gambling treatment programs. All remaining funds would be transferred to Illinois’ Pension Stabilization and Education Assistance Funds.

Why does Illinois need this now?

As the pandemic continues, states are increasingly seeing revenue shortages on funds they have become dependent on. Because of this, states have two options: seek additional revenue or cut services. 

With other states as models to replicate, states are now moving faster than ever to legalize online casinos to get a piece of the pie. In 2020, New Jersey broke all records with the iGaming industry bringing in nearly $1 billion in total revenue. Early predictions have Michigan’s new online casinos set to duplicate NJ’s success in 2021. So, it makes sense to see other states like Illinois making moves towards legalization. 

When might Illinois players expect to see their first casinos?

The bill is currently sitting in the House Rules Committee. However, should it be passed and signed into law, the Illinois Gaming Board would have 90 days to develop emergency rules for a quick roll-out. We will continue to monitor progress on the proposed bill, and post updates as they come in.

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