Illinois Gaming

After several years of discussion of gaming expansion in Illinois – especially for casino expansion – the Illinois General Assembly and Governor Pritzker have reached an agreement to do so.  The revenues from the expansion, along with increased taxes on cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and parking spaces, will be used to fund capital projects.  These will be deposited into the newly created Rebuild Illinois Projects Fund.

Casino Expansion

Additional casino locations have been approved for Chicago, Danville, Waukegan, Rockford, South Suburbs (Bloom, Bremen, Calumet, Rich, Thornton, or Worth Township), and Williamson County (adjacent to the Big Muddy River).  The Chicago casino is entitled to 4,000 gaming positions; the rest are eligible for 2,000.

Each application for a license shall be submitted to the Illinois Gaming Board no later than 120 days after the effective date of the Act, after the submitter pays an application fee of $250,000.

The Chicago Casino Advisory Committee for minority and women owned business review will be created.  It shall consist of 9 members; five will be selected by the Governor and four by the Mayor of the City of Chicago.

The new casinos may conduct gaming at a temporary facility pending the construction of a permanent facility or the remodeling or relocation of an existing facility to accommodate gaming participants for up to 24 months after the temporary facility begins to conduct gaming. This timeframe may be extended up to 12 months upon approval of the Gaming Board.

Race Tracks

Cook County tracks (Arlington and Hawthorne) are allowed to apply for licensure from the Gaming Board to conduct electronic gaming for the facilities.  They are authorized 1,200 positions each. Licensees outside of Cook County are authorized 900 gaming positions.

An organization license limited to Standardbred racing to a racetrack located in Cook County has also been authorized. The organization license includes, but is not limited to, the ability to obtain an inter-track wagering license, the ability to obtain inter-track wagering location licenses, the ability to obtain an organization gaming license, and the ability to offer internet wagering on horse racing.

Sports Wagering Act

At horse racing tracks: the master sports wagering license allows each track to use three of its Off Track Betting locations as sportsbook locations.  The tracks can operate one mobile application reflecting the brand of the track.

At casinos:  riverboats in Alton, East Peoria, Rock Island, Joliet, Metropolis, Joliet, Aurora, East St. Louis, Elgin, and Des Plaines qualify for a master sports wagering license.  The casino can offer an online application or sportsbook but it must represent the brand of the casino.

At sports facilities: provides for licensure of up to 7 sports facilities or their designees with a seating capacity of over 17,000 persons. The sportsbook can be in the facility or at one location within a 5-block radius of the sports facility.

The Illinois Lottery would be granted a master license that will allow lottery sports wagering terminals in 2,500 retail locations in the first year and 2,500 in the second year across the state.  This license is for 4 years and must be competitively selected.

Video Gaming

The maximum bet has been increased from $2 to $4; the maximum payout increases from $500 to $1,199.

A new license for “large truck stops”, truck stops that retail more than 50,000 gallons of diesel per month, authorizes 10 video gaming terminals.

The tax on video gaming is currently 30%.  It will increase to 33% of net terminal income on July 1, 2019; and increase further to 34% on July 1, 2020.

Gaming operations at Chicago airports has been authorized. However, the combined number of gaming positions operating in the City of Chicago at the airports and at the temporary and permanent casino facility cannot exceed 4,000 positions.

The gaming expansion legislation is SB690.

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