Illinois Online Casino Legalization Hits Another Roadblock

As the Illinois legislative session ended last week, the push to legalize online casinos in the state faced yet another obstacle.

Illinois online casino bills stalled until next year.

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Two significant proposals, House Bill 2239 by State Rep. Edgar Gonzalez Jr. and Senate Bill 1565 by State Sen. Cristina Castro, failed to move beyond the committee stage, putting the issue on hold until the next legislative session begins in January 2025.

Both bills aimed to create a legal structure for online casinos in Illinois, proposing a 15% tax on the revenue these operators would generate. The bills’ sponsors highlighted the potential tax revenue as a major benefit, especially considering the state’s ongoing budget challenges.

Related: Illinois Considers Increasing Taxes for Sports Betting Operators

Both Bills Fail to Reach the Floor

Despite these arguments, the Subcommittee on Gaming, Wagering, and Racing in the Illinois State Senate and the Gaming Committee in the Illinois State House did not advance the proposals. The lack of agreement among lawmakers meant that neither bill reached the floor for debate or a vote before the session concluded.

It is not the first time that this has happened with iGaming bills in Illinois. Gonzalez and Castro have introduced similar bills in the past, only to see them stall in committee repeatedly. Their persistent efforts are in line with the broader discussion on the role and regulation of online gambling within the state. While sports betting is already legal in Illinois and over 30 other states, online casinos remain more controversial, with only six states having legal iGaming markets.

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Concerns Regarding Impact on Physical Casinos

A significant concern against iGaming is its potential impact on physical casinos. However, in some states, it has been shown that online gambling can complement or even boost traditional gambling operations without negatively affecting revenue.

Nonetheless, Illinois’ physical casinos are not convinced. They oppose internet gaming and are seeking clarity on how they would fit into an expanded gaming market. They also want details about licensing permissions.

Illinois legislators may not have another chance to return to the issue of online casino laws until January 2025 when Gonzalez and Castro are predicted to reintroduce their bills. As a result, the debate over the pros and cons of bringing online gambling to Illinois is set to continue for some time.


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