- Illinois lawmakers are looking at legalizing online gambling in the near future.
- HB 3142 has already been brought to the State House, and would legalize internet casino gaming.
- The bill would also look into the possibility of interstate wagering.
LAS VEGAS – State lawmakers have begun to look at the possibility of online casino gaming in Illinois.
Illinois State House Representatives Robert Rita and Jonathan Carroll introduced HB 3142 on Friday, February 19, 2021.
The bill would - effective immediately - allow casinos and racetracks within the state to offer USA online casino gambling either on their own or with a partner.
This is a quick move from the legislature in the context of Illinois state politics, as sports betting was only legalized in the state in June of 2019, launching in March 2020.
Now, less than a year later, the success of the sportsbooks - especially against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic - could be driving the state to legalize gambling further.
The Bill - HB 3142 Analysis
HB 3142 is a bill with one major function - legalize online casino gambling in the state - and several smaller functions that cover the details.
In its own words, HB 3142 “authorizes a casino or racetrack to offer Internet gaming or contract with a platform to offer Internet gaming, as regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board.”
The bill also sets out the various requirements that gaming platforms, users, and licensees will have to meet.
In addition, the bill establishes a 12% tax rate on casino gambling, with percentages going to the “Department of Human Services for the administration of programs to treat problem gambling, the Pension Stabilization, and the Education Assistance Fund.”
Intriguingly, there is also a section in the bill devoted to “acceptance of out-of-state-wagers”, which is a big potential moneymaker for the state.
The bill effectively asks the Illinois Gaming Board to figure out if there’s any way to conduct interstate wagering without breaching either federal law or the laws of other states.
Basically, the bill would legalize the taking of wagers from people who are out of state if:
“The Board has determined that out-of-state wagering is not inconsistent with federal law or the law of the jurisdiction in which the person is located.”
“Out-of-state wagering is conducted pursuant to a reciprocal agreement to which this State is a party that is not inconsistent with federal law.”
In other words, out-of-state wagering hangs on how the Illinois Gaming Board determines the legality, but it is written into the bill as of now.
This wording likely would allow Illinois’ gamblers to compete in multi-state poker tournaments such as the World Series of Poker.
It is unlikely to mean that gamblers out of Illinois can use their gambling facilities, except for in this case.
It’s unclear what the result of the Board’s inquiry will be, but it certainly could bear interesting fruit for bettors in the surrounding states.