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Illinois Proposes $52.7 Billion Budget with Sports Betting Tax Hike

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker unveils a $52.7 billion state budget proposal, featuring tax increases including a significant hike in sports betting taxes. Explore the implications of Pritzker's fiscal agenda for Illinois' economy and gaming industry.
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Branimir Ivanov | Senior News Contributor

Updated: Feb 26, 2024

Illinois Proposes $52.7 Billion Budget with Sports Betting Tax Hike

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, a Democrat in his second term, recently unveiled an ambitious $52.7 billion state spending plan for the fiscal year commencing on July 1. The proposal includes several tax increases, predominantly targeting businesses, with sports betting also falling under the fiscal scrutiny.

Outlined on February 21, these measures aim to transition the state from a previously estimated deficit to a surplus, projecting nearly $128 million in additional budgetary funds.

One of the notable propositions within Pritzker's fiscal agenda is a significant hike in Illinois' sports betting tax rate, soaring from its current 15% to a proposed 35%. This substantial increase is anticipated to generate approximately $200 million in tax revenue for the state. Additionally, Pritzker seeks to extend a cap on corporate deductions, limiting taxable income reductions to save the state an estimated $526 million.

 

What's key:

  1. Fiscal Ambitions: Governor JB Pritzker's proposed $52.7 billion state spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year aims to transition Illinois from a projected deficit to a surplus, bolstered by tax increases targeting businesses and sports betting.
  2. Sports Betting Tax Hike: Pritzker proposes more than doubling Illinois' sports betting tax rate from 15% to 35%, anticipating an estimated $200 million increase in tax revenue. The move positions Illinois alongside states with comparatively high sports betting tax rates.
  3. Gaming Industry Impact: With Illinois emerging as a top gambling market, recent statistics indicate robust sports betting activity, contributing significantly to state tax revenues. The proposed tax hike underscores Governor Pritzker's proactive stance in leveraging the gaming sector for fiscal stability.

Furthermore, the fiscal year 2025 revenue forecast includes plans to generate an additional $101 million through revisions to the policy allowing retailers to retain a portion of collected sales taxes from consumers. Another pivotal aspect of the budgetary allocation involves redirecting mass transit costs from sales taxes to the Road Fund, freeing up approximately $175 million from the state's general funds.

Addressing lawmakers in Springfield, Governor Pritzker emphasized the financial prudence of the proposed budget, stating:

 

“While this budget is tight this year, our fiscal house is in order, and we are able to keep our commitments to the people of Illinois.”

 

Governor Pritzker's involvement in Illinois' sports betting landscape dates back to 2019 when he signed legislation legalizing sports betting as part of a comprehensive gaming expansion initiative. His administration played a pivotal role in launching online sports betting in Illinois during the COVID-19 pandemic, propelling the state into one of the top three gambling markets alongside New York and New Jersey.

Recent statistics highlight Illinois' robust sports betting activity, with the state consistently surpassing the $1 billion mark in monthly betting handle for four consecutive months. December 2023 recorded a staggering $1.3 billion in sports betting handle, following a record-breaking November figure of $1.4 billion. These figures underscore Illinois' burgeoning presence in the lucrative sports betting industry.

In terms of taxation, Illinois garnered $150.3 million in taxes from eight online sportsbook operators and 11 brick-and-mortar sportsbooks last year. If Governor Pritzker's proposed tax increase is enacted, Illinois would join the ranks of states with comparatively high sports betting tax rates, trailing behind New York, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania.Despite the optimism surrounding Illinois' gaming landscape, prospects for online casino legislation advancement remain uncertain, with significant progress expected to materialize in the coming year.

Governor Pritzker's bold fiscal proposals signal a proactive approach to addressing the state's financial challenges while positioning Illinois as a key player in the evolving sports betting industry. As legislative deliberations unfold, stakeholders await the outcome, anticipating the implications for Illinois' economic trajectory and gaming sector expansion.

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