Illinois Gambling Laws

Illinois Gambling Laws on Casinos, Lotteries, Fantasy Football

Illinois is next in our review-series of US gambling laws. We’ll explore the state of casino gambling, online gambling, lotteries and daily fantasy sports in Illinois.

Casino Gambling and Betting in Illinois

Gambling has a rich history in Illinois and that richness is reflected in the progressiveness of Illinois gambling laws. In the 19th century, Illinois was riverboat-casino paradise, with numerous venues and questionable characters. By the 20th century, the popularity of horserace betting led to a bulging betting market as well. The Illinois betting framework was set up in 1975 with the implementation of the Illinois Horse Racing Act. Riverboat casinos became authorized in 1991, ranking Illinois as the second state to legalize such venues. The government’s intent was to promote Illinois casino tourism and to assist and support education from the increased revenues. The Riverboat Gambling Act established the Illinois Gaming Board, a five-member regulating body, appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. The Board regulates, licenses, and oversees riverboat casinos and video gaming in Illinois. Illinois gambling laws were further broadened in 2011, when the state legislature legalized land-based casinos and amended the Video Gaming Act. Currently, legislators are disputing casino expansion plans without any significant progress.

Online Gambling in Illinois

As of now, online gambling in Illinois is outlawed. However, in the previous years, there were many promising signs, indicating the return of legal online casinos in Illinois. At a Q&A in 2014, Senate President John Cullerton said that online gambling is “something that’s going to be here. There’s three states that have it.” However, he also added that the legalization of online gambling in Illinois cannot happen until they “resolve whether or not we’re going to have new casinos in Illinois and that again is very difficult to predict.” Cullerton also suggested the legalization of online poker in Illinois, as it would make approximately USD 200 million annually, based on the Poker Players Alliance’s numbers. Shortly after, the casino expansion plans were put on hold, due to conflicting interests. Since legislators withhold the expansion plans, the future of online gambling in Illinois is still undecided. Poker players claim that there are many online poker rooms that accept Illinois players without any legal issues. “The point is people are already gambling, and we’re not making any of the money,” highlighted Cullerton in 2014.

Lotteries in Illinois

Illinois is a pioneering state in the lottery department, as they were the first state to sell lottery tickets online in the US. “Providing online access can maximize revenue, and do it in a socially responsible manner,” said Michael Jones, Illinois Lottery superintendent, at the start of the Illinois online lottery in 2012. “It’s essential to the state for the lottery to stay on the cutting edge of technology,” he added, forecasting the Illinois Lottery’s progress. 2014 marked the launch of the first US lottery application, introduced by Illinois. In 2014, Illinois took the forerunner’s role once again by announcing that the lottery drawings will be aired online. The detailed history, with big Illinois Lottery wins, can be found on the lottery’s official site.

Daily Fantasy Sports in Illinois

Daily Fantasy Sports in Illinois are not yet regulated. Currently, all the leading providers accept Illinois-based players. However, there were already some official steps made to stop them doing so. In 2015, Attorney General Lisa Madigan released an opinion, declaring Daily Fantasy Sports illegal in Illinois. Madigan’s opinion highlighted that both ‘games of chance and skill for money’ are illegal in the state. “Now that we know, according to the attorney general, that it’s illegal, we can make a serious attempt to address the issue,” said Democratic Reps., Scott Dury. Madigan excepted Daily Fantasy Sports sites to list Illinois among the restricted countries. As an answer, Both FanDuel and DraftKings have filed complaints against Madigan, for harming their reputation. HB4323 is the bill that would create the Fantasy Contest Act of Illinois that would legalize and regulate the games. It pushes for policies and procedures for the operation of Daily Fantasy Sports in Illinois.

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