A plan to legalize internet gambling in Illinois has suddenly appeared in the State Senate. If enacted, newly amended House Bill 4148 would establish the Illinois Lottery as a monopoly operator of internet gambling and poker within the state.
Illinois HB 4148 would authorize the Department of the Lottery to create a Division of Internet Gaming. The new Division would receive broad discretion to decide the rules for internet gambling in Illinois.
For example, the Division of Internet Gaming would adopt regulations related to:
- types of games that can be offered,
- payout percentages,
- acceptable forms of payment,
- responsible gaming controls,
- technology platforms, and
- such other matters that are necessary or desirable.
The Division of Internet Gaming is the only entity that would be authorized to operate internet gambling in Illinois.
The President of the Senate, Senator John Cullerton, is the legislator responsible for the plan’s sudden appearance on the legislative record. Senator Cullerton has been focused on gaming and economic expansion in general throughout the entire 2011-2012 legislative session. He is also keenly aware that time is of the essence. Illinois is facing an awful budget crisis, but there are few other bills that could generate new sources of income this session. Previously, HB 4148 had covered unrelated subject matter, but Senator Cullerton’s amendments transformed the bill entirely.
The bill faces overwhelming obstacles. Both chambers must approve it before May 31, which is the target adjournment date for the legislature. Furthermore, political opposition from licensed Illinois casino operators is guaranteed because the plan would prohibit them from competing against the Illinois Lottery.
Click here to view the latest version of HB 4148.
Article edited May 17, 2012. A prior version indicated that HB 4148 was ready for voting on the floor of both chambers, but actually it must first be heard before the Senate’s Executive Committee.
About the Author: Bradley Vallerius is a licensed attorney in the State of Illinois who is focused on gaming and technology issues. His office provides free consultations for questions about remote gambling possibilities in the United States. +1-(480)-382-5537.