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Illinois lawmakers file bill to legalize online casino


Illinois Representatives Robert Rita and Jonathan Carroll have filed a bill that would legalize online casino gaming in the state. 

Under House Bill 3142, also known as the Internet Gaming Act, Illinois’ brick-and-mortar casinos would be permitted to apply for internet gaming licenses. 

Each licensee would then be able to operate up to three skins, or contract with up to three internet management service providers, and offer online casino to those aged 21 and above. 

The internet gaming license would have a $500,000 fee attached, and a $250,000 charge for renewal. 

The management service provider licenses, meanwhile, would have a $100,000 fee, though this would be halved if that business already had similar certification covering another vertical. This would last for four years, and cost $50,000 to renew. 

Two other license types would be created by the act. The first, a supplier license, covers businesses providing content and services to customer-facing operations, and would cost $75,000. 

As with the management service provider category this fee could be reduced if the provider is already licensed in Illinois, though to $50,000. It would also last for four years, with a $50,000 renewal fee attached. 

Finally, the occupational license would cover individuals that can make critical changes to hardware or software, or that have access to customer account data. This would cost $1,000 – though could be halved for existing licenseholders – and cost $500 to renew. 

HB3142 also allows operators to link or commingle accounts in other jurisdictions. It also gives the Illinois Gaming Board the power to enter into agreements with other territories to operate multi-jurisdictional games such as online poker. 

However, the legislation does carry over an in-person registration requirement that was first included in the state’s sports betting regulations. Unlike sports betting, however, this will be in place for six, rather than 18 months. 

Operators will also be subject to a 12% gross revenue tax, which is to be paid into the State Gaming Fund. The Department of Human Services will receive $10m of this tax revenue, to administer problem gambling treatment programs. 

Any remaining money will be transferred to Illinois’ Pension Stabilization and Education Assistance Funds.

The bill currently sits with the House Rules Committee. Should it pass, the Illinois Gaming Board would have 90 days to develop emergency rules for a quick roll-out. 

The regulator may also grant operators temporary licenses within 30 days of their applications being filed. 

The launch could come less than two years after Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed an omnibus gaming expansion bill into law, that led to the launch of sports betting in the state.

This legislation also allows for the construction of up to six new land-based facilities in the state, including a major facility in the Chicago area, as well as slot machines at racetracks and the O’Hare and Midway airports.