Could Illinois Online Casinos Be Coming in the Near Future?

While online sports betting expansion has made major strides since the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, online casinos have not grown at the same rate. At this time, Illinois online casinos are not legal.

According to executives at a recent East Coast Gaming Congress conference, however, three midwest states, including Illinois, could be next in line to legalize online casinos. Let’s look at the current state of online gambling and what expansion would mean.

Online Sports Betting Versus Online Casino Availability

At the time of this writing, online sportsbooks are legal in 21 states and Washington D.C., with three additional states set to join the 22 locales soon. Maryland already has retail sports betting in place and will be rolling out online sportsbooks, while Ohio and Massachusetts will be launching all forms of sports betting in the coming months.

Legal online casinos, on the other hand, are only available in six states: Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, and West Virginia. If speakers’ predictions at the ECGC conference come true, New York, along with Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa, could be the next states to add online casinos to their gambling repertoire. 

“I’m confident there’s plenty of room for growth,” North America Commercial Director for Evolution Jeffery Millar said.

With the success of US sports betting combined with the disparity between online sportsbooks and online casinos, it’s surprising talks of expansion have taken this long.

The Case For Online Casino Expansion

The most convincing case for state legislators is the additional revenue online casinos can bring to states. Illinois, for example, has seen nearly $63 million in tax revenue through the first seven months of 2022 just from sports betting.

When it comes to online casinos, Michigan casinos have won $2 billion from online gambling in the state since Jan. 2021. Even Connecticut, a state with a population of 3.5 million, has had winnings of nearly $200 million since Oct. 2021.

With some states having the infrastructure already in place, online casino expansion could come faster than the legalization of sports betting in general.

“They already have regulators in place,” Rush Street Interactive CEO Richard Schwartz said. “They have servers in place. It’s quicker to start up a casino addition.”

The Case Against Online Gambling Expansion

Some state lawmakers have taken moral stands as to why they’re against online casino expansion, and sometimes sports betting expansion altogether. Other legislators, however, have simply wanted to preserve revenue for brick-and-mortar operators. 

The fear is that the ability to play casino games online would lead to a crippling of retail casino revenue from the loss of customers visiting physical locations. Even with the gambling industry itself has dispelled that notion, that hasn’t led to much movement for online casino legislation.

About the Author

Cody Kutzer

Cody is a freelance writer contributing to our sports betting content. He's a fantasy football fanatic, lover of all things Penn State, and always one bet away from winning his teasers.