Illinois Drafts Changes to Online Gaming State Plans

29 May 2012

Plans for Illinois to oversee a state-run online gaming industry underwent major revisions Friday, as a third amendmentto House Bill 4148 puts the business of running games in the hands of affiliates.

An online poker platform would be developed within the state’s lottery and then could be licensed out to 16 casinos and racetracks in the state. Each property would have to pay a $5 million licensing fee in order to use the state’s platform. Affiliates could not use their own poker site.

A separate bill working its way through the legislature aims to authorize more brick-and-mortar gaming facilities, which would include a new casino in Chicago. If new properties are constructed, they too could have access to the Internet gaming industry.

Senate Bill 1849 passed out of the House Wednesday, but doesn’t have Gov. Pat Quinn’s support, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The state is eying up to $105 million in licensing fees from potential online gaming affiliates. Illinois would give licensed operators a piece of the revenue generated.

Illinois would not run the Internet games itself, but it would be in charge of determining which games are permissible and the price of players fees and rake percentages. The state would also be in charge of cashing out players.

The online gaming legislation gives Illinois the power to form interstate compacts, but for now the model is intrastate. Technologies for geolocation, as well as age and identity verification, would be provided by third-party vendors.

The proposal’s sponsor, Senate President John Cullerton, wrote to the governor earlier this month when the plan first became public: “The state could organize the first major poker pool, garner worldwide popularity, and position itself as a ‘hub’ for multi-state and international iGaming.”






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