Illinois online casino bills HB2239 and SB1656 took unfortunate turns on March 10 into committees where they may die due to inaction. However, hope for the Internet Gaming Act (IGA) to become law may not completely disappear until May 19, when the Illinois General Assembly adjourns.
On Friday, HB2239 was re-routed from the House Gaming Committee to the House Rules Committee. That same day, SB1656 moved from the Senate Executive Committee to the Senate Assignments Committee.
As Joe Tabor, director of policy research at the Illinois Policy Institute, put it:
[Bills get] stuck in the House Rules Committee where, historically, bills have gone to die.
House reasoning for the re-routing is perhaps even more foreboding:
All legislative measures that fail to meet the applicable deadline established under Rule 9 for reporting to the House by a standing committee or a special committee, for Third Reading and passage, or for consideration of joint action motions and conference committee reports are automatically re-referred to the Rules Committee unless: (i) the deadline has been suspended or revised by the Speaker, with re-referral to the Rules Committee to occur if the bill has not been reported to the House in accordance with a revised deadline; or (ii) the Rules Committee has issued a written exception to the Clerk with respect to a particular bill before the reporting deadline, with re-referral to occur, if at all, in accordance with the written exception; or (iii) the deadline has been automatically suspended because the bill has been passed, but remains subject to further consideration pursuant to Rule 65.
State Rep. Edgar Gonzalez Jr., D-Chicago, introduced HB2239 on Feb. 8. That same day, state Sen. Cristina Castro, D-Elgin, filed the companion bill in the Senate.
Bonus calculated that HB2239’s 15% tax rate might have generated up to $240 million in annual tax revenue for Illinois, based on the performance of similar marketplaces. It also could’ve been as low as $160 million, depending on the impact of uncapped promotional deductions.
Gonzalez didn’t immediately return a request for comment from Bonus.
Illinois Online Casino Bills See Similar Re-Routes
The Illinois General Assembly treated the bills nearly the same way on Friday.
Castro’s bill is in a similar situation, according to the Senate language:
3-9. Re-Referrals to the Committee on Assignments.
(a) All legislative measures, with the exception of resolutions to amend the State Constitution, that have failed to meet the applicable deadline established in accordance with Rule 2-10 for reporting to the Senate by a standing committee shall automatically be re-referred to the Committee on Assignments unless: (i) the deadline has been suspended pursuant to Rule 7-17, with re-referral to the Committee on Assignments to occur if the bill has not been reported to the Senate in accordance with the revised deadline; or (ii) the Committee on Assignments has issued a written exception to the Secretary with respect to a particular bill prior to the reporting deadline, with re-referral to occur, if at all, in accordance with the written exception. Should the President in accordance with Rule 2-10 establish deadlines for action on joint action motions or conference committee reports, the foregoing re-referral provisions and exceptions shall apply with respect to those legislative measures that fail to meet those deadlines.
The Bills Haven’t Had Hearings
The House Gaming Committee canceled its March 1 and 8 hearings and has no scheduled hearings listed. Similarly, Castro’s bill hasn’t gone through that procedure.
Meanwhile, HB2320 – which differed from the first two Illinois online casino bills by having a 12% tax rate – hasn’t left the House Rules Committee. That seemingly unloved bill took residence in the committee on Valentine’s Day.