Five days after a House version of the Illinois online casino bill moved into that body’s Gaming Committee, state Senators directed SB1656 into the gaming subcommittee.
Bonus listened on Feb. 7 to live audio of the Senate Executive Committee‘s five-minute-long meeting that consisted of the nine members quickly redirecting bills into subcommittees.
Committee Chairwoman Cristina Castro directed her Internet Gaming Act (IGA) bill to the Gaming Subcommittee on State Regulation. That three-member subcommittee doesn’t yet show a listed meeting or public hearing.
The Illinois body containing Castro’s bill was renamed. It’s now the Senate Subcommittee on Gaming, Wagering, and Racing.
Time to Talk About Legal iGaming?
Castro, D-Elgin, first introduced her Illinois online casino bill on Feb. 8, 2023. Like the one sponsored on the same day by Rep. Edgar Gonzalez Jr., D-Chicago, neither passed the Illinois General Assembly in 2023.
So both state legislators carried their bills over into 2024.
While Castro hasn’t historically returned requests for comment from Bonus, Gonzalez is outspoken about his iGaming advocacy.
On Jan. 13, Gonzalez told Bonus he would work to move his bill, HB2239, into the House Gaming Committee because he wanted lawmakers to discuss it this year. He didn’t believe the measure would see a vote in 2024. On Feb. 2, he fulfilled that promise when HB2239 entered the committee.
Using HB2239’s outline for a 15% tax rate, Bonus estimates that if Illinois had an iGaming market operating today, it would be worth about $275 million in annual tax revenue. Gonzalez included the tax rate now used for online sportsbooks in his version of the IGA.
Legal online sportsbooks began taking bets in Illinois in 2020.
If the Illinois online casino bill remains in discussion mode, it’s not alone in the US. Iowa Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, chose the same route for HSB227. He, too, believes 2024 will need to be a year filled with iGaming education for lawmakers and stakeholders.
Meanwhile, on March 1, Rhode Island’s online casino app will launch.