Illinois Finally Acts on Bill to Legalize Online Gambling
The Illinois Senate Committee finally acted on the gambling expansion bill that will legalize online gambling, by voting for its passing last Wednesday. The resulting 10-4 votes signified the committee’s approval to present the bill at the Senate floor for full voting as early as Thursday. The proposed expansion included the addition of another casino in Chicago and the installation of slot machines in Chicago city airports and in all horse racing tracks that operate legally in the state of Chicago.
Moreover, the proposed law institutes measures that aim to address the administration, regulation and enforcement of Internet gambling laws by creating the Division of Internet Gambling, as a sector of Illinois’ Department of Lottery. The regulations will cover all forms of online casino gambling, whether regarded as games of chance or skill. The prohibition of online sports betting will prevail in the state of Illinois, in accordance with the existing federal law.
The controversial “bad actor” clause also forms part of the regulatory measures, which automatically disqualifies a license applicant who has broken any U.S. laws that prohibit the acceptance of online wagers, if the violation was committed during the most recent past ten years prior to the filing of the application. The clause specifically applies to suppliers of goods, services or software to licensed Internet gaming operators. Approved licenses are valid for five years and renewable for another five years but subject to the requirements of the “bad actor” clause.
The proposed expansion law up for full-senate voting this week, also includes provisions that allow the Division of Internet Gaming to enter into interstate and international agreements with other online gaming operators, for as long as the compacts are not in violation of any federal, state or foreign law.