The State of Illinois is pretty straightforward when it comes to what constitutes gambling in Article 28, Section 28-1 of the statutes:
Sec. 28-1. Gambling.
(a) A person commits gambling when he or she:
- knowingly plays a game of chance or skill for money or other thing of value, unless excepted in subsection (b) of this Section;
- knowingly makes a wager upon the result of any game, contest, or any political nomination, appointment or election;
The definitions appearing after those would pertain to operators rather than mere players. Gambling in the State of Illinois is a Class A Misdemeanor with any subsequent offenses constituting Class 4 Felonies.
Lacking any specific penalty findings in Illinois statutes, Class A Misdemeanors for first offense gambling could theoretically include up to one year in jail and fines of up to $2,500, or both. For repeat offenses, Class 4 felonies in the state can include fines of up to $25,000 and the possibility of imprisonment for 1-3 years.
Once again, while the laws are more stringent than those in Idaho, there is a similarity to the laws of Idaho in the sense that Illinois does not seem to distinguish between mere players as opposed to operators. In the statutes, the general provisions with respect to what constitutes, ‘Gambling,’ apply to players and operators alike.
Illinois is a state that has taken several actions against gamblers in games played out of a physical location:
The one immediately above was actually a poker room in which twenty-five people were arrested for illegal gambling!
Furthermore, Illinois has batted around some Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) Legislation, however, it remains illegal in the state as of the time of this writing due to a decision that was made late last year. Of course, that makes Illinois one of the few states to specifically indicate that DFS is illegal.
Despite the strict enforcement of their other anti-gambling laws, there is no indication whatsoever that any player utilizing an online casino has ever been arrested for that.
In conclusion, Illinois must be construed as a pretty hardcore state because the letter of the law would serve to make online gambling illegal, DFS are currently illegal within the State of Illinois, and Illinois laws carry pretty stiff penalties not just for operators, but also for mere participants in unauthorized gambling. With that said, however, much like other states, Illinois does not seem to invest anything into going after mere players on online betting sites.
It should also be mentioned that the penalties for operators (at least, first offense) are actually pretty lax compared to other states in which it may be an immediate felony. For those reasons, one must consider Illinois heavily restrictive on online gambling, but certain mitigating factors will lead me away from giving it a, ‘Banned,’ ranking.
FINAL RANKING: Heavy-17
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