Illinois expanded their gambling laws in June 2019, and that allowed for the legalization of sports betting. The expanded gambling laws also allowed for new casinos to be built in the state, including an integrated resort in the city of Chicago.
Not much progress has been made on the Chicago resort, and a high tax rate was considered to be the reason. Earlier this week, Governor JB Pritzker signed a bill into law that would reduce the tax rate that was placed on gross gaming revenue at the Chicago resort.
Senate Bill 516 was passed by lawmakers in May, and that landed it on the desk of the governor. The legislators passed the bill during a special session in hopes of attracting a company to begin the project in downtown Chicago.
Even though there will be a lower tax schedule for the new project, the taxes will still be much higher than in other casinos around the state. The city and state are set to collect between 22.5 percent and 74.7 percent on all gross gaming revenue produced by slot machines.
Table games will be taxed between 15 and 35 percent. The amount that the casino will have to pay will be determined based on the gross gaming revenue that is reported each month.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been urging lawmakers to consider a lower tax schedule in hopes of getting the project underway. Lightfoot believes that the integrated casino resort will help out both the city and state economically.
Five other suburbs were also chosen as future sites of new land-based casinos. These sites include Danville, Rockford, South Suburbs, Waukegan, and Williamson County.
Still Massive Fees For a New Project
Even though a lower tax schedule should help attract a large company, there are still some high fees associated with this project. The integrated resort will be taxed a “privilege tax” based on their location in downtown Chicago.
The winning casino would also be required to pay $15 million upfront for the rights to build the casino. Each gaming position also comes with a one-time fee of $30,000, and that could equate to more than $100 million paid by the winning company.
Most major companies will wait until a final location has been announced before they decide to submit a bid for the project. Casino companies will likely be willing to take on the massive taxes in hopes of a huge return, but the location of the new resort will be a huge key.
Some people believe that the resort should be placed downtown in an area that is struggling financially. Others argue that a place such as Millenium Park would be the perfect spot for this new project.
Illinois Sports Betting Continues to Grow
Sports betting launched in Illinois on March 9 when the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines took the first legal bet on sports. Other sportsbooks were set to open up a week later, but the shutdown of live sports kept them from doing so.
All land-based casinos were shut down in mid-March as well, effectively ending the sports betting industry in the state. Rivers Casino was able to launch its BetRivers online sportsbook in June, and customers were able to sign up and bet at that site or through the mobile app.
Land-based casinos in the state were given the green light to reopen on Wednesday, marking the return of retail sports betting. Several other casinos were ready to begin taking bets on sports, and they are getting close to launching their online betting site.