Surprising development in Illinois

News on 1 Jun 2017

Lawmakers in the Illinois State Senate overwhelmingly passed an amendment to House Bill 479 in the dying days of the current legislative session to include comprehensive provisions on the legalisation of daily fantasy sports and internet gambling.

What’s interesting is that the bill was initially introduced to renew the State’s official seal.

While the amendment received overwhelming support with a vote of 42-10, further action will only be taken on the bill, if at all, after an adjournment when the legislature returns in a continued session on June 8.

The amendment details the creation of the Internet Gaming Act which will authorise online casino and poker under the “internet wagering” term. A Division of Internet Gaming will be established within the Illinois Gaming Board to administer, regulate, and enforce internet gambling. The division, once established, will be overseen by an Executive Director. In addition, a Responsible Internet Gaming Advisory Board will be established which will advise and make recommendations to the Executive Director.

Internet gaming licensees will be limited to no more than two brands per licensee and be made available to existing terrestrial casino owners and racetrack owners within Illinois State.

Provisions within the act will include age verification, responsible gaming and tax liabilities.

In addition, the amendment details the creation of the Fantasy Sports Contest Act authorizing interactive fantasy sports contests by licensed operators. The vertical would be overseen by the Illinois Gaming Board.

The Fantasy Sports Contest Act will include provisions for licensing suitability, application and license fees, tax rates and obligations, safeguards and minimum standards for operators, platforms and contests, along with auditing mechanisms.

This development is particularly surprising as this is the first time the Illinois legislature has seriously considered internet gambling and daily fantasy sports measures, despite a myriad of introduced bills falling by the wayside.

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