Illinois to consider future of online casino games bill

By Robert Simmons
Judiciary officials in the Illinois House Executive Committee are today discussing state sponsored online casino games legislation at a hearing in the state house.

House Bill 479 was passed earlier this month, clearing Illinois state senate by a vote of 42-10 and was passed for review and amendment by the executive committee.

The bill is sponsored in the House of Representatives by Representative Michael Zalewski and Senators Kwame Raoul, Dave Syverson, Steve Stadelman, Pat McGuire and Napoleon Harris.

It would see the creation of an autonomous Division of Internet Gaming within the existing Illinois gaming board and the creation of five-year iGaming licences for prospective operators.

Under the terms of the proposed licences, prospective licensees would be limited to the operation of two brands only, with licences costing a single payment of $10m with regular tax payments of 15% of the operators revenue.

Testimony in support of adopting the proposals is expected by the Poker Players Alliance, a not-for-profit organisation which aims to "establish favourable laws that provide American poker players with a secure, safe and regulated place to play one of America’s oldest past times. Through education and awareness efforts aimed at policymakers, the media and the public, the PPA will keep this game of skill free from egregious government intervention and misguided laws".

Officials estimate as much as $300m in revenue could be generated by online casino games, should the bill eventually be signed into law.


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