Illinois Online Gaming
The Illinois Racing Board made online and phone wagering options available in October 2009 and gave permission to four companies to host online horse betting. Previously, wagers could only be placed at the track or at an offtrack betting parlor. The authorization to accept bets online expired at the beginning of 2013. In June 2013, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation that allowed the resumption of online horse betting in the state.
Illinois residents may open advance deposit wagering accounts at www.tvg.com, www.youbet.com, twinspires.com and Xpressbet.com.
Illinois took advantage of a revised interpretation of the Wire Act to begin offering online lottery ticket sales.
In September 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a legal opinion on the scope of the Interstate Wire Act of 1961. In the statement, it concluded that "interstate transmissions of wire communications that do not relate to a 'sporting event or contest' fall outside the reach of the Wire Act." By narrowing the scope of the Wire Act to sports, the DOJ freed states to sell lottery tickets online and offer intrastate online gaming.
In March 2012, Illinois began selling individual lottery tickets online. Any Illinois resident over the age of 18 can play on the state's lottery website.
In May 2013, a measure emerged seeking to create a new Division of Internet Gaming within the Illinois Lottery. The new division could grant licensees the right to offer a range of internet-based gambling to the state's residents. Under the new proposal, the Division of Internet Gaming would be granted the right to award five-year licenses to applicants, whose application process would involve gauging suitability as well as an initial $250,000 application fee. Eligibility of the applicants would be limited to those who are already licensed in the state pursuant to the existing gambling and horse racing laws in Illinois. The measure lacked the political support needed to advance.
In April 2017, a measure to legalize fantasy sports betting was introduced. If passed, the bill would override the decision made by the Illinois Attorney General back in 2015 that ruled fantasy sports betting as illegal under state law. The Senate approved the bill in April and it is awaiting action by the House.
In October 2018, a gambling expansion bill from 2017 was discussed by state lawmakers from two House subcommittees. The state Senate had already passed a previous version of the bill, and it was referred to the Rules Committee in May 2018. As of the end of 2018, it had failed to advance through House committees.
In February 2021, Rep. Bob Rita introduced the Internet Gaming Act, which would bring online slot machines, table games and poker to the state. The bill would allow casinos and racetracks to pursue licenses for a $500,000 fee. There would be a maximum of three skins per entity. Profits would be taxed at 12%, a similar number to the current sports wagering tax in Illinois. There would be an in-person registration period, lasting six months.
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