No doubt, the casino industry has been taking a huge hit over the past few years. The major culprits in this demise are online Casinos. There is no question that the Internet has affected all aspects of life including gambling. Therefore, it would be foolish to assume that just because online Casinos are taking a hit, that gambling is not a business that can flourish on the Internet. However, Illinois is one state that has really hurt the online casino industry.
One Illinois law which directly impacted the online casino gambling industry was the recently passed casino smoking ban. When passed, the ban basically cut out half of the casino industry s annual income by 20 percent. However, on a per person basis, online casinos have remained consistently profitable.
Illinois was not the only state to heavily restrict online gambling in recent years. While the two mentioned states may have had different reasons for enacting their respective gambling bans, they were more or less the same. One of the more popularly cited reasons for these laws is the fear of ILSAA growing into an international casino gambling hub. ILSAA stands for the “Internet Las Vegas Style.” It was feared that if these international casinos came to exist, Illinois would lose its competitive edge and be left behind.
Illinois lost that battle, but the damage was already done. After all, if other states were able to completely legalize online casino gambling, why couldn’t Illinois do the same? The only reason Illinois was given a second chance at competing with Nevada and other jurisdictions was because of the ILSAA. It was hoped that this would revitalize theiling gambling industry back to profitability.
Today, despite the ILSAA, the Illinois Department of Gaming is still involved with the implementation of measures to regulate the gambling industry. On the face of it, this seems like a tremendous effort considering that most anyone with a casino job in Illinois is employed in the gaming sector. However, it is widely believed by many that the efforts being taken by the state are simply a part of the larger scheme to revitalize the struggling Illinois casino industry. In the end, the state may simply be using its tentacles to strengthen its hand as it negotiates international deals regarding the riverboat casinos.
Of course, it’s not likely that the state is going to simply relinquish control of the gaming capitol of the state to the Illinois State Gaming Commission. Instead, it is believed that the CSCC is merely going to be used as a bargaining chip when seeking additional funding from congress. In fact, it has already been suggested that the CSCC may use its new position as a bargaining chip to push harder for the renewal of the federal grants that fund the operations of the state’s six commercial casinos. In the end, whatever deal that is finalized will in all likelihood come at a very high cost to Illinois taxpayers.
This brings up another important question that needs to be addressed. How does the loss of gaming funds affect the profitability of the current six Illinois gambling facilities? The short answer is that none – not a single one. While the loss of gambling funds is going to have an overall negative impact on the bottom line at the various Illinois gaming facilities, there are a number of reasons that the loss of gambling funds is not a crippling blow to the state’s profitability.
First and foremost, online casino gaming represents a relatively small portion of the overall revenue generated by the Illinois gambling industry. Second, Illinois is one of only two states in the entire country that offers tax credit status to online casinos. Finally, despite the loss of anticipated gaming revenues, Illinois online casinos are highly profitable – indeed, they are among the most profitable online casinos in the world. Clearly, the loss of casino gambling money is a significant problem, but it is one that are best solved by carefully studying Illinois gambling legislation and the impact that it will have on the state as a whole and on individual Illinois citizens. Only then can we as a state get on with the solution and ensure that the citizens of Illinois continue to have access to great online casinos.