Illinois Problem Gambling Bill Gets Unanimous Approval In Senate

Written By Matt Boecker on April 3, 2023
Pop-Up Notification

Last week, the Illinois Senate unanimously approved a bill, 54-0, aimed at tackling problem gambling. If enacted, the legislation would require Illinois sportsbooks to send hourly pop-up messages to bettors indicating their total wagered amount.

Sen. Bill Cunningham filed SB 1508, which was approved by the IL Senate floor last Thursday. The bill was initially brought up with the Health and Human Services Committee before it was moved to the Senate. It now heads to the House for further voting.

In 2019, sports betting was made legal in the Land of Lincoln and since that time, Illinois residents have placed $19,725,718,150 in wagers. This enormous amount of money brings with it an obligation for Illinois lawmakers to ensure that responsible gambling is readily available to those residing in the state.

Details of the responsible gambling bill

SB 1508 proposes several regulations for sportsbooks in Illinois. One of these mandates that a pop-up message appears every hour after a player has logged in, informing them of their total bets.

That pop-up would contain hyperlinks and phone numbers for Illinois problem gambling resource information, making it simpler than ever for individuals battling problem gambling to seek assistance.

Cunningham stated upon filing the bill:

Illinois has taken the lead in regulating sports betting, and it’s crucial that we also tackle the possible damages related to gambling addiction.

We can assist individuals who might be struggling with problem gambling by mandating sports betting apps to show a pop-up message providing resources for gambling addiction aid.

Two other gambling bills passed the Senate

Last week, the Senate also passed two additional gambling bills:

  • Bill 323 alters the renewal fee that sportsbook operators in Illinois have to pay for their licenses. Instead of paying $150,000 annually to the Illinois Gaming Board, they would now pay $50,000 every four years.
  • Bill 1462 amends the eligibility criteria for individuals with criminal records seeking an occupational license. The IGB would be mandated to review the specifics of the individual’s criminal history, including the period since conviction, the number of convictions, and the severity of the charges.

For the three bills to become legal, they must pass the House and receive Governor J.B. Pritzker’s signature into law.

Illinois problem gambling by the numbers

Since the launch of sports betting, Illinois has generated a substantial amount of tax revenue. Specifically, IL has accumulated $247,961,441.

However, licensed sports betting has also led to an increase in problem gambling among residents of the Prairie State. Last year, a statewide study was conducted by the Illinois Department of Human Services to survey Illinoisans about their gambling habits.

Information derived from the study includes:

  • In the last year, 68% of adults reported that they had gambled.
  • A gambling problem was experienced by 3.8% of adults.
  • Approximately 7.7% of adults are susceptible to developing gambling problems.

As defined by the National Council on Problem Gambling, problem gambling is:

These are patterns of behavior that negatively impact personal, familial, or professional endeavors. Symptoms include growing obsession with gambling, feeling a need to gamble larger amounts more often, experiencing restlessness or irritation when trying to quit, persisting in chasing lost money, and the inability to control the urge to gamble despite severe negative repercussions.

If online casinos become legal in Illinois, the numbers will increase. Therefore, it is crucial for Illinois legislators to remain proactive. They must do all they can to make sure residents know about the resources available to them for problem gambling.

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Matt Boecker

Hailing from Chicago, Matt Boecker is an alumnus of Northern Illinois University, having graduated in 2020. He is known for his specialized coverage of sports betting and legalization. Those who have worked with him previously, including former teammates, characterize him as a pleasant individual who is dedicated and passionate about the game.

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