Illinois Online Gambling Legislation May Still Have Breath This Year



According to Online Poker Report, it is very possible that a few online gambling bills may be looked at in some short veto sessions in Illinois coming up next week and in November. These sessions, which will only be from October 24th to October 26th and November 7th through November 9th, are used mainly for state lawmakers to review bills vetoed by the Governor, but some other bills that haven’t even gotten to the Governor’s desk are sometimes looked at, as well.

In June, the Illinois State Senate passed a piece of legislation that would have legalized and regulated online gambling – including poker – and daily fantasy sports (DFS). The bill dominated, too, passing by a whopping 42-10 vote.

The bill authorized licensed casinos and race tracks in the state to apply for online gambling licenses. Taxes would have been 15 percent on gross gaming revenues, but for the first five years, the first $100 million in revenues would have been taxed at only 10 percent. Unfortunately, there was also a “bad actor” clause in the bill, which disqualified any operator who “accepted wagers via the internet in contravention of this act or in contravention of any law of the United States.”

Yup, that’s PokerStars.

As for daily fantasy sports, the tax portion would have been on a sliding scale. The taxes were listed at 5 percent on the first $1 million in gross gaming revenues, 7.5 percent on revenues up to $3 million, 10 percent for the portion up to $8 million, and 15 percent over 8 million. Licensing fees would be just $500 for operators that make less than $100,000 and increase to a max of $25,000 for those who make over $10 million.

The bill stalled out in the House, though you probably guessed that by now. There was actually a chance that Governor Bruce Rauner would have vetoed the bill, as when he ran for office in 2014, he said he didn’t want to expand gambling in Illinois. At the same time, Illinois faced a nearly $10 billion deficit, so any potential tax income would have been welcomed.

Online Poker Report says that three bills could possibly be considered. H 479 was the one passed by the Senate, now sitting in the House. S 209 was referred to the House Executive Committee’s Gaming Subcommittee this week. And there is S 1531, another bill moved to the House, this one to the House floor.

Since it is the most complete and furthest along, H 479 would logically have the best chance to do something and would have the shortest path to law, but you never know with these sorts of things. As mentioned, there are very few days for anything to happen, and as is usually the case, there are likely more important topics on the minds of Illinois legislators. But the windows, however small, are open, so action on internet poker is not impossible.

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