Poker news | Apr 14, 2021
Illinois Online Poker Bill on the Table
By RTR Dennis
Illinois is one of the most-lucrative potential online gaming markets in the US. However, it still has yet to put any serious consideration towards legalizing internet gaming…until now.
A bill has been introduced in the state House that would legalize both online casino games and poker. The House Rules Committee is set to look at the legislation in the near future.
Details on the Illinois Online Casino & Poker Bill
Rep. Bob Rita (D-Blue Island) is the author of HB 3142, otherwise known as the Internet Gaming Act. Rita’s legislation features the following main points:
- Legal online casinos.
- Legal online poker.
- Allowance for future interstate online poker compacts.
- Land-based casinos and racetracks can offer online gaming sites.
- Internet gaming companies must partner with land-based IL casinos/tracks.
- The Illinois Gaming Board will vet and approve all licensees.
If approved, the Internet Gaming Act would make the Illini State one of the premier online gambling markets. Illinois would suddenly feature multiple types of internet gambling, (possibly) interstate compacts, and famous online operators.
As with most states, companies like partypoker and 888 couldn’t apply directly for a license. They would be able to, however, get a license so long as they have a land-based partner.
Fair Licensing Fees & Taxes Should Draw Many Interested Parties
The Internet Gaming Act wouldn’t hit operators too hard when it comes to taxes and licensing fees. Gaming companies would need to cover $500,000 for the initial license and $250,000 for renewals.
They’d also have to pay a 12% tax on annual adjusted gross revenue, which is about average compared to most states.
The tax money would go to a special Illinois gaming fund. From here, it’d be distributed to state expenses and worthy causes.
$10 million of the money would be paid to the Department of Human Services. This department would use the $10m to create organizations to help problem gamblers.
How Would Illinois Impact Interstate Online Poker?
Legal US online poker hasn’t been a boomtown for players or operators so far. Too few of states offer regulated iPoker.
Among those that do, New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware are the only states to have joined in a compact so far. Collectively, they make up less than 4% of America’s population.
If Illinois were to regulate mobile poker and, eventually, join that compact, it would add another 12.59 million residents to the player pool. This amount would almost double the number of current players in the Illinois pool.
Michigan (10m) and Pennsylvania (12.79m) are two more large states with legal iPoker. They, however, haven’t joined the existing Delaware/New Jersey/Nevada compact yet.
West Virginia is the only other state with regulated online poker. Its population of 1.78 million, though, wouldn’t make a huge impact on the US market once operators get going.
That said, Illinois is perhaps the biggest whale in terms of population that could be added to the US mobile poker market.
Will Illinois Ultimately Legalize Online Gaming?
The House Rules Committee should offer a recommendation on whether to move forward with iGaming rather quickly. If the bill passes through the state House and Senate, then legislators have 90 days to come up with the market’s framework.
In comparison to most states, Illinois should work rather quickly to make this legislation a reality if it indeed passes. That said, the Internet Gaming Act could potentially go into effect in late 2021 or early 2022.
One downside to this bill is that online gamblers will need to register at land-based casinos and racetracks for the first six months. After this point, they could register online or in person.