It was only a month ago in a surprising turn of events that the possibility of legalizing online gambling in the state of Illinois seemed within an arm’s reach away. However, it unfolded into yet another one of those “there’s always next year” results that is all too familiar when it comes to the passing of online gambling bills in states across the US.
It is now that time of the year again where states all over America are fumbling to get any and all bills through the imminent closing of the legislative doors.
This was the case for Illinois too, where it started just a few weeks ago with the highest hope the state had ever had since talks of regulating online gambling first begun in this state when the Senate gave a huge green light for House Bill 479. Since then, however, after a series of inactive meetings leading up to Tuesday 27th June, which was postponed to Wednesday 28th, when the final decision was to made about the bill, optimism about the bill coming to fruition has rapidly dwindled down. When no action was taken on either of the iGamingDFS bill combo or the standalone DFS bill 1531 on the last hearing of the legislative session, the online gambling bill was dealt the final nail in the coffin, for this legislative year anyway.
Poker Players Alliance executive John Pappas was in attendance at the Wednesday hearing, and tweeted this at the conclusion of the meeting: “wheels have come off”, “Folks are regrouping and may try this again in a few weeks.”
In what is the final lifeline for the bill, State Governor, Bruce Rauner, has stated he is considering to extend the legislative session in hopes of passing the online gambling bill.
Illinois dangerously close to being first state with a “junk” status
The governor’s decision come in light of the fact that the state is in a dire situation, facing a severe fiscal deficit. After two years of budget stalemate between the Republican Gov. and Democrats who control the Legislature, the state has come under heavy pressure to produce one this year, otherwise things are “going to get much worse very quickly”, as stated by Illinois Comptroller, Susana Mendoza. If the state continues to not pass a budget for the third straight year, it is very possible that Illinois will become the first state to have its debt downgraded to “junk” status.
Knowing the significant impact the potential tax revenue generated from online gambling would bring, Gov. Rauner is extremely keen, to say the least, in pushing the long-delayed bill through the House and into law.
There’s Always Next Year
Although the bill is still hanging on to its life support, with online gambling proponents working around the clock to see this through, the reality is looking more and more like this will have to be settled in the following year.