Illinois Racing and Gaming Commission Working to Conserve Money – But New Casinos Mean Bigger Profits For Illinois
There are currently no licensed Indian gaming casinos in Illinois, but five tribes operating successful casino operations out of other states are seeking casino licenses to build casinos in Illinois under the newly enacted Rebuild Illinois Law. The Gaming Commission in Illinois has yet to issue final regulatory approvals for any or all five applications. The first application was issued in October, followed by another in December. If the five applications are approved, Illinois will have four new gambling facilities. Illinois is now the twenty-fifth state with casino gambling growth expected in the upcoming years.
Illinois is a state with two major political parties, each with at least one legislative chamber. Each legislature has two chambers and each controls both the budget and oversight of the Illinois Gaming Commission. The Republican Party currently holds the majority share of the seats in both houses of the General Assembly. But currently, the Democrats hold a slim majority, needing only thirty-one percent of the seats to control the oversight of the six new casinos being proposed. At least half of the legislature must sign off on all six casino applications before the Illinois Gaming Commission can issue final licenses.
The new law allows Illinois citizens to convert up to six sports betting parlors currently licensed by the Illinois Gaming Commission into licensed gambling establishments. This takes effect immediately, so interested candidates need to start preparing their applications by now. In addition to receiving an application in the mail, interested candidates need to attend a meeting scheduled by the Illinois Gaming Commission. Attending this two-hour seminar provides valuable information on the revised Illinois statute on gaming, including why the new law has been designed and how it will impact the Illinois Lottery and Casino Commission.
The introduction of the six new casinos is part of Governor Bruce Rauner’s plan to revitalize Illinois’ economy. The new law also includes measures to increase taxes on alcohol by fifteen cents per ounce, raise cigarette taxes by one cent, and create a new fee on cigarette distributors. The tax on lottery tickets will also increase by one percent. If approved, Illinois residents will have an even better chance at winning their state’s popular lottery games such as the Illinois State Lottery, the Illinois State Soccer Tournament, and the Rose Bowl.
The June 2019 deadline for applications to become licensed by the Illinois Gaming Commission is fast approaching. Anyone hoping to earn a place at one of the six new Illinois casinos should hurry to submit their documents. The deadline is not only to receive the application, but also to submit proof of funds for any expenses related to the business, such as rent or utility bills. The Illinois State Lottery and Casino Commission expect approximately eight million people to visit Illinois during the upcoming season. Each of the new Illinois gambling casinos will provide customers with a first-rate gambling experience, including world class restaurants, bars, and card tables.
The new laws also allow Illinoisans to use debit cards and electronic check systems at Illinois casinos. This eliminates the need to write a check and carry cash. The new Illinois Racing and Sports Betting Commission has been working hard to accommodate the needs of customers, who no longer have to stand in line waiting to purchase a lottery ticket or purchase a seat at one of the state’s major sporting events. The commission hopes to offer convenient shopping at its gaming stores, which are expected to start in fall of 2019.
The addition of the six new casinos to Illinois’ gaming landscape brings significant revenue to the state’s economy. The addition of the Chicago Sun-Marine Aquarium, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency gives Illinois the opportunity to diversify its sources of revenue. However, the sun, sea, and sand may not be enough to attract people to the beautiful Illinois town of Joliet, where riverboat gambling was banned for twenty years.
Even with the millions of people expected to visit the new Illinois destinations in the fall of 2019, the gaming board will have to compete with cities, counties, and even private institutions that own land within the gaming board’s boundaries. In fact, Illinois is considering adding a racetrack to Cook County, home to the only two racetracks in the state. Even if a casino does open in Joliet, it is highly doubtful that it will be able to draw as many visitors as the six new Illinois casinos. Hopefully Illinois will continue to diversify its sources of revenue, but right now Illinois is in a financial crisis, and any chance of additional money coming to the state probably will be lost until the gaming board can generate more money by increasing rates or providing other incentives to tourists.