Illinois online casino gambling may not become legal in 2023, but state Rep. Edgar Gonzalez Jr. plans to keep it on the minds of his fellow lawmakers. Gonzalez, D-Chicago, spoke to Bonus about iGaming and why it matters to his state.
On March 10, the bills Gonzalez and state Sen. Cristina Castro, D-Elgin, sponsored took unfortunate turns into House and Senate committees where bills often go to die. HB2239 hasn’t moved from the House Rules Committee, and SB1656 remains in the Senate Assignments Committee.
Another measure, HB2320 – sponsored by state Rep. Jonathan Carroll, D-Northbrook – took up residence in the House Rules Committee on Valentine’s Day.
While Gonzalez acknowledges the likely fate of HB2239 and SB1656, he says that won’t be the end of the Internet Gaming Act (IGA) conversation he has with members of the Illinois General Assembly.
Gonzalez told Bonus:
iGaming is inevitable, it’s just a matter of when and how. Definitely a lot of questions left to be answered. But it’s important to keep the conversation going. Aside from another source of entertainment that reaches new demographics who might not be drawn to brick-and-mortar VGTs and casinos, this is tax revenue that Illinois is missing out on that can fund critical programs and projects.
Although the bill has been rerouted back to the Rules committee, it will definitely continue to be a conversation topic in my engagements with stakeholders in the gaming industry.
Meanwhile, legal Illinois sports betting has no trouble getting attention. Yesterday, Senators passed several bills along to the House pertaining to the marketplace that launched in 2020, wrote Patrick Keck of the State Journal-Register.
Lawmakers Are Still Discussing Illinois Online Casino
On Wednesday, state Sen. Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago, introduced SB2558. It’s aimed at having Illinois adopt a policy like the ones that are law in Nevada and New Jersey.
Cunningham’s bill would amend the Illinois Gambling Act (IGA). It would prevent online gambling operators who are breaking the law outside of Illinois from getting licenses in the state.
It’s perhaps more stringent than the law governing the Ontario marketplace, which prohibits illegal operators from obtaining legal status in the province.
However, SB2558 would need to be approved today to move on to the House.
Still, it’s activity Gonzalez noted.
Gonzalez told Bonus yesterday:
Some stakeholders in the iGaming industry reached out to my office supporting this language. The language targets bad actors who, although licensed in other countries, might be using ill-begotten gaming money obtained through criminal activities, such as money laundering schemes, trafficking rings, amongst other criminal sources. Certain nation states are more lax in their granting of licenses. So we want to make sure we play by the book here in the States.
Illinois had been on a short list of most likely states to legalize online casino gambling in 2023. However, only New Hampshire remains there. Yesterday, Granite State Senators approved SB104 and sent it on to the House for consideration.