Illinois Still Looms As Possibility For Legal Online Gambling As Pennsylvania Stagnates

Illinois online gambling future

While nothing of substance is happening in Pennsylvania on the legalization of online gambling, Illinois remains a possibility for the fourth state to regulate online poker, iGaming and everyday fantasy sports, according to a recent report.
Illinois still on the radar for Internet gambling

Illinois made a late push to legalize online gambling this spring, once the Senate quickly passed a bill that would have legalized DFS and iGaming in one fell swoop. But then, progress stalled in the House.

However, the effort is not dead, according to the law’s sponsor, Rep. Michael Zalewski.¬†¬† More from GamblingCompliance:

“I have come to the conclusion this should be a collaborative approach,” Zalewski said about online gambling and everyday fantasy sports.

“I tried for two years to pass a dream bill without online gambling,” Zalewski said. “I’m sort of at my wit’s end with that strategy, so I think we need to circle the wagons and try a new strategy.”

Zalewski more or less confirmed here that the support of the existing online casino industry is required to find DFS legalization to the finish line. Lawmakers and the DFS sector are using the “carrot” of iGaming to appease interests which have opposed DFS legislation in the past.

DFS occurs in a grey area in Illinois, after Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued an opinion stating it is illegal gambling in 2015.

What are we looking for in Illinois on iGaming, DFS?

The state has eventually passed a budget after two years of failing to do so. So that issue won’t necessarily bog down talks about gambling in Illinois.

Still, online gambling remains as a chance to generate meaningful revenue for a state that just hiked corporate and income tax rates.

The Senate is back in session beginning this weekend, but any movement needs to happen in the House, where the online gambling/DFS invoices currently reside in committee. The same online gambling bills which were in play this spring are still the mechanisms if and when the legislature takes it up.

GC reported that efforts on the laws will probably occur in November or early 2018. However, with the progress already made, if stakeholders and lawmakers get on the same page and decide to advance laws, things could happen quickly.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania idles

PA has long appeared to be another nation to legalize online gambling. However, nothing much has happened of late. The House isn’t due to return for a few more weeks:

Now finding out that the @PAHouseGOP wont call the House back into session for ANOTHER TWO WEEKS! End your vacations and return to work!

— PaSenateDems (@PaSenateDems) August 10, 2017

The first issue on the agenda is passing a sales package to finance the budget. After that is accomplished, the hope is that a gaming bill — with online gambling included — will be on the agenda. The Senate has already passed a sales package that counts on $200 million from a gaming package that is to be determined.

On the “bad news” side of the ledger, proponents of video gambling terminals have become more outspoken, a development which portends trouble for the bigger gaming package and the prospect of iGaming.

Whether either state will act to legalize online gambling in 2017 is up in the air at this time. But two countries looking at the matter is better than zero.

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