Illinois Introduces Bill to Legalize iGaming in 2023

The Prairie State could potentially legalize online casinos this year after introducing iGaming legislation.

Illinois lawmakers have their eye on a bill this session that could potentially legalize iGaming and online sports betting in the Prairie State.

Sen. Cristina Castro (D-22) introduced the Internet Gaming Act (SB 1656) on Feb. 8, which seeks to legalize iGaming for licensed operators, such as casinos or race tracks.

Her bill currently sits in the Illinois Senate Executive Committee.

Illinois iGaming Bill Details

The bill will allow Illinois sports betting operators to offer any “internet-based version or substantial equivalent of a gambling game, slot machine, poker, table game, or any other game approved by the board, including, but not limited to, simulcasted live-dealer versions of casino games.”

The Internet Gaming Act calls for an iGaming tax of 15% of adjusted gross gaming revenue and up to three individually branding gaming skins for each licensed operator. Individuals 21 years of age will be eligible to participate and cash in on any online casino bonuses available, as there is no in-person account registration requirement included in the bill.

An Illinois iGaming license would cost operators $250,000 and a renewal fee of $100,000, practically a bargain when compared with the minimum cost of an Illinois sportsbook license. Casino or tracks hoping to acquire sportsbook licenses must pay a minimum fee of $5 million, licenses to operate sports betting at a professional sports facility cost $10 million, and untethered online sportsbook licenses, ones to be managed by potential operators such as BetRivers Illinois or PointsBet Illinois, cost $20 million.

How Would Legalized iGaming Impact the Illinois Economy?

Castro’s bill earmarks iGaming tax revenue for the “State Gaming Fund,” which supports the Gaming Board and transfers fund for education spending in Illinois.

The Internet Gaming Act is the first piece of legislation proposed by an Illinois lawmaker since 2021. State Rep. Bob Rita (D-28) introduced HB 3142 in February 2021 which would have allowed Illinois casinos or racetrack to offer internet gaming.

His bill called for a 12% iGaming tax, but it never received a vote on the House floor.

No iGaming bills were introduced in the state’s 2022 session.

Robert Linnehan

Robert Linnehan

Covering regulatory developments in online gambling. Editing/writing/creating a newsletter for readers across all formats.