Illinois Reconsiders Online Gaming
In the most recently Illinois legislative session, Senate Bill S.208, which would legalize and regulate internet gaming and daily fantasy sports, passed the full Senate in a 42-10 vote in May. However, House Bill H.479 did not move out of the House Executive Committee in June. In the October veto session, the bill stalled and the House decided to table it for the year. But H.479 will be considered again when lawmakers return to Springfield in January.
State Rep. Michael Zalewski, one of the bill’s sponsors, said passing gaming legislation is difficult due to the number of stakeholders with various interests. But Zalewski said, “Sooner rather than later, we’ll get to a comprehensive package that people can support.” He said in feedback he received regarding the bill, the horseracing industry, the video gaming industry and brick-and-mortar casinos wanting to expand into online poker and casino gaming. Zalewski said a broad gaming expansion bill could pick up steam in spring 2018.
Similar gaming legislation passed in Pennsylvania, where legislators ultimately found common ground to pass the law. Illinois legislators could use Pennsylvania’s measure as a model—and they’ll see Pennsylvania collect millions of dollars in licensing fees from DFS and online gaming operators.
New York and Michigan also are expected to consider online poker and/or casino game legislation in early 2018.