Internet gambling could mean big bucks for Illinois
Illinois is one of the top sports betting states in the country, and a gambling insider says online casino gambling would be even bigger.
A bill has been introduced at the statehouse that would legalize internet gaming. State Sen. Cristina Castro, D-Elgin, filed Senate Bill 1656 which proposes the initial cost of an internet gaming license would be $250,000 with applications limited to Illinois casinos and racetracks. Licensed operators would be taxed at 15% of adjusted gross gaming revenue that would be directed to the State Gaming Fund.
Only Michigan, Delaware, West Virginia, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey allow so-called iGaming and PlayIllinois.com marketing analyst Eric Ramey said they all have found out it is a moneymaker.
“All of them across the board are finding out that sports betting is essentially the appetizer to the main course,” Ramsey told The Center Square. “In terms of raw revenue, online casino gambling basically dwarfs sports betting. The margins are a little larger and the volume is just substantially higher.”
Illinois has been one of the top sports betting states in the country, consistently finishing in the Top 4 in the amount of handle. According to the Illinois Gaming Board, the state took in nearly $10 billion in bets last year, the third most in the country.
Illinois leads the nation in the number of electronic gaming devices, with over 40,000 machines at nearly 8,000 locations around the state in 2021, everywhere from bars, gaming parlors to gas stations.
Ramsey believes Illinois would be a leader in online gaming revenue.
“If you guys were to go down this road and legalize online casino gambling, it would be the most successful market in the country to date and would generate substantially more revenue than sports betting has for the state,” said Ramsey.