Illinois Senate Bill to Legalize Online Casinos Given Until April 5 to Exit Committee

Proposed legislation to legalize online casino gambling in Illinois now has a Senate deadline. SB1656 must exit the committee it’s in before April 5 to stay active in 2024, a Senate Bill Room staffer told Bonus on March 20.

On March 15, the Internet Gaming Act (IGA) bill sponsored by state Sen. Cristina Castro, D-Elgin, received that deadline.

Meanwhile, the majority caucus whip hasn’t responded to repeated requests for comment from Bonus.

Illinois Online Casino Gambling Moving Again

Castro’s SB1656 has visited three committees and subcommittees five times since she introduced it on Feb. 8, 2023. As of March 20, the IGA bill wasn’t scheduled for a hearing or vote in the Senate Subcommittee on Gaming, Wagering, and Racing, where it sits.

Because it’s only had one of the three required readings before Senators can vote, meeting this April 5 deadline may be SB1656’s last chance of passage during this session of the Illinois General Assembly.

If it becomes viable, details within it will matter to online gambling advocates:

  • Operators would pay a 15% tax rate
  • Each iGaming licensee is allowed three skins, or online casino brands

Castro’s Bill Has a House Counterpart

House IGA bill sponsor — state Rep. Edgar Gonzalez Jr., D-Chicago — won the March 19 Democratic primary. Castro was uncontested.

Retaining his seat may mean he’ll continue the iGaming discussions during budget negotiations that he has told Bonus will happen in 2024. He’d said HB2239 was unlikely to pass in 2024 but that he would initiate conversations about the possible new revenue.

The IGA measure sponsored by Gonzalez also calls for a 15% tax on online casino gambling operators. That would bring Illinois $275 million in annual tax revenue, Bonus calculates.

His bill sits in the House Gaming Committee, where it’s been since Jan. 31.

So far, neither IGA bill has been included in the $52.7 billion budget. Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced on Feb. 21.

Legislators must pass their amended version by May 31. In 2023, that agreement happened on May 24.

About the Author

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is Lead Writer at Bonus, concentrating on online casino coverage. She specializes in breaking news, legislative coverage, and gambling marketing strategy overviews. To reach Heather with a news tip, email [email protected].
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