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Illinois Players Won’t Enjoy Online Casinos After Legislation Hits Roadblocks



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Online casinos were on the brink of being legalized in Illinois. Unfortunately, both bills weren’t voted on after the exact details of the bill, particularly taxes, couldn’t be ironed out.

State Representative Edgar Gonzalez Jr. and State Senator Cristina Castro both introduced separate but almost identical bills that, if passed, would’ve legalized online casinos in the Land of Lincoln. However, both bills were left to languish in the committee process. For now, the Subcommittee on Gaming, Wagering, and Racing has put the bills on the back burner.

There was no urgency among the politicians to vote on the pieces of legislation. The state budget has been much more stable in recent years. The state government has achieved a surplus over the last three years, and the 2023/2024 fiscal year is predicted to end in a $1.4 billion surplus.

Without pressing budget constraints, the government no longer needs to get creative with generating revenue. They’re likely keeping the legalization of online casinos in their back pocket until they need additional funds.

What Do the Illinois iGaming Bills Entail?

If passed, the bills would authorize an Internet gaming operator to offer internet gaming in Illinois after successfully receiving a license. The operator could run up to 3 individually branded internet gaming skins and would be subject to a 15% tax on revenues.

Online sports betting is already legal in Illinois, and major players include DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM. The regulated online casino market would operate similarly to the established sports betting industry, and many of the same brands would also add casino games.

One of the sticking points with the iGaming bills is the 15% tax rate. Online sportsbooks are currently subject to a 15% tax on gross gaming revenue. However, the government wants to boost it to 20% for low earners and up to 40% for the top performers. 

The government wants to take advantage of online sportsbooks and use their growing revenues to fund the state. However, FanDuel and DraftKings have threatened to leave the state if they’re hit with higher taxes. 

It’s unlikely that the iGaming bills will pass with the old 15% flat tax. At a minimum, that will need to bump up to 20%. However, the state risks destroying the industry before it’s even started if it places too heavy tax burdens on operators.

Players in Illinois are also subject to a 15% state tax if they win over $600 when sports betting. This rule will likely apply to online casinos as well. This tax may disincentivize locals from playing at regulated casinos. Instead, they’re likely to continue playing at offshore casinos where there are no taxes on winnings. 

Will iGaming Ever Be Legalized in Illinois?

As the state legislative session has concluded, now the earliest state politicians can visit the online casino bills in the new year. If the bills are going to get passed, Rep. Gonzalez and Sen. Castro will have to reintroduce new online bills in January 2025.

Castro and Gonzalez’s bills were virtually identical, and both mirrored Illinois’ online sports betting legislation. The politicians believe that online casinos can be a great source of ongoing revenue for the state and help Illinois continue to fund social services while balancing the budget.  

The iGaming industry has struggled to win over lawmakers in the US. Only six states have legalized online casinos, while online sports betting is live in 30 states. Online casinos have proved more controversial, and brick-and-mortar casinos have lobbied hard to keep them banned. 

Neighboring Michigan has managed to successfully balance online and brick-and-mortar casinos. According to the latest research, the introduction of online casinos in 2021 hasn’t negatively impacted brick-and-mortar casino revenue. Hopefully, Gonzalez and Castro will use the Wolverine State as a shining example.

Gonzalez and Castro are no rookies when it comes to campaigning for online casinos in The Prairie State. The lawmakers have submitted numerous pieces of legislation only to see them rejected. However, there’s a very good chance that iGaming will finally be legalized in Illinois in 2025. Let’s hope that the lawmakers can come to a consensus and actually vote on the bill. It’s about time Illinoisans have access to online slots!

Read more: France May Legalize Online Casinos in 2024 or 2025

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Casino & Games

France May Legalize Online Casinos in 2024 or 2025



France to legalize Online Casinos

France is one of the only EU countries which has a ban on online casino games. Currently, French players are restricted to sports betting and online poker. The European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA) has been putting pressure on the French authorities to liberalize the market. They argue that bans are ineffective as locals don’t stop playing; they instead opt for black market casinos.

By legalizing online casinos, the French government could tap into a new tax base while protecting players from unregulated offshore sites. According to research from the French gambling authority l’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), French players are generating up to €1.5 billion in gross gaming revenue (GGR) per year for illegal casinos. Incredibly, France’s regulated gambling revenue sits at €3 billion. 

The tax rate on GGR for sports betting is 33.8%, and 36.7% for online poker. If you apply a similar potential rate for online casinos, France is missing out on over €500,000,000 in taxes. We’re sure the French government could find worthy causes to channel such a significant sum to.

Demand for Online Casinos Is Strong in France

The ban on online casinos in France has completely failed. In fact, the average French bettor spends $300 per year on online gambling. The market is expected to grow 7.2% annually for the next five years. The regulated market alone will be worth €10 billion, if the ANJ regulates online casinos, this number could double.

As many as three million French players frequent online casinos at least once a week. The most played games are slot machines and roulette which are currently completely banned by the ANJ. 

However, French players have no issues getting around the bans. Many users use free VPNs or simply play at offshore casinos that don’t conduct any verification. The rise of cryptocurrency has helped offshore casinos thrive as money can be sent around the world within seconds without financial institutions. Casinos also don’t have to worry about chargebacks.

It’s not just potential revenue that the authorities are missing out on. The lack of legal options is also placing local gamblers at risk. Due to France’s online casino prohibition, players find themselves at unregulated sites where there’s a lack of responsible gaming tools and little legal recourse if something goes wrong. There are far too many stories of players being stiffed by sites or lured in with fake bonuses.

The EGBA believes France should legalize and regulate online casinos in the same fashion that the country has already regulated online sports betting. France can look to the United Kingdom, which has been a pioneer when it comes to legalized online casinos and draw inspiration from their regulations.

French Lawmakers Still Mulling Over Lifting the Ban

At the end of 2023, there were rumors that the ANJ would allow French gambling sites to offer casino-style games like blackjack and slots. The government said it was considering allowing established land-based casinos to offer online versions of their games. However, nothing has changed, and no new pieces of legislation have been created.

France is also attempting to regulate blockchain gaming. It’s specifically focusing on play-to-earn games where you earn in-game tokens and cryptocurrencies, which can be traded and sold. The government is supportive of such games but wants to establish rules for the new style of gaming.

Potentially, after the French parliament has wrapped its mind around crypto gaming, it’ll turn its attention to online casinos. There’s still a slim hope that French players will be playing slots at local online casinos in 2024, but 2025 is more realistic. 

In the meantime, black market sites will continue to benefit from the ANJ’s ban as it fruitlessly continues to block gambling sites. According to a recent report, up to 50% of black market website traffic in France is to betting sites; don’t expect that figure to drop anytime soon, as the French clearly like their online casino games.

The ANJ hasn’t adapted to the times. Apart from Cyprus, France is the only EU country where online casinos, including slot machines, are strictly banned. If France wants to protect local players, generate up to €500,000,000 in additional taxes, and get in line with the rest of the EU, it’s time to finally legalize online casinos.

Read more: It’s Official Legal Sports Betting & iGaming Is Coming to Brazil!

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Casino & Games

What Role Does Artificial Intelligence Play in the Future of Online Casinos?



Online Casino Games - Design Concept

One disruptor lurking in the online casino world is artificial intelligence (AI). As algorithms grow smarter and data becomes more accessible, the potential for AI to reshape the online gambling sector is growing. In this article, we’ll dive into the different ways AI will disrupt the online casino industry, examine new trends, and highlight strategies for casinos to take advantage of the AI revolution.

Impact on Casinos

AI is going to overhaul the customer service and experience. With the help of sophisticated chatbots powered by natural language processing (NLP), online casinos can provide instantaneous support to players, address queries, and troubleshoot issues promptly. At the same time, gambling sites can increase their margins by slashing their customer support teams.

AI empowers casinos with predictive analytics capabilities, enabling them to analyze vast quantities of data to anticipate player behavior and preferences. With the help of machine learning algorithms, casinos can personalize marketing campaigns, tailor promotions, and optimize game offerings. This data-driven approach boosts customer loyalty and maximizes revenue streams by effectively pairing campaigns and services with player demand.

Impact on Players

AI will lead to a new era of personalized gaming experiences. AI algorithms can generate hand-picked recommendations, suggesting games and strategies tailored to individual preferences and skill levels. 

AI-powered algorithms can create seismic shifts in game design and development, introducing innovative features and mechanics that resonate with player preferences. AI can inform the design process by quickly sifting through feedback and sentiment. This will lead to games that offer a more immersive and captivating gaming experience and more adequately meet players’ needs.

New Trends and Opportunities

We’re in the very early stages of AI, but several emerging trends are already starting to emerge. One such trend is the rise of AI-powered virtual assistants and concierge services, which offer players personalized recommendations, assistance, and guidance throughout their online casino experience. These virtual companions utilize advanced AI algorithms to understand player preferences, anticipate needs, and deliver the best experiences. No longer will personal hosts be reserved for high rollers. Whether you’re betting $0.10 per hand or $1,000 per hand, you’ll get access to five-star personalized service.

AI-driven content generation and dynamic pricing algorithms are poised to revolutionize the way casinos offer promotions and incentives to players. Through market trend and player behavior analysis, AI can optimize pricing strategies and adjust promo offers to maximize their impact and relevance. This will cause an increase in conversion rates and, ultimately, more players.

AI-powered virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) could be game changers for the online casino industry. With the help of AI, online casinos can create virtual environments that blur the lines between reality and fantasy and transport players to new worlds. These immersive experiences not only amplify the gaming experience but lead to increased community engagement. Casino games will only be one aspect of the online casino experience, which could attract a whole new market segment of players.

Deploying AI Effectively

Online casinos must embrace AI if they want to thrive in this new era. Casinos must invest in robust AI infrastructure and talent acquisition to unlock the full potential of AI technologies. Online casinos can develop bespoke AI solutions by building internal expertise and capabilities.

At the same time, casinos need to collaborate with leading AI vendors to gain access to cutting-edge tools and solutions. Casinos that can forge strategic alliances with industry leaders can generate shared insights to co-create innovative solutions that drive business growth.

Online casinos must prioritize data privacy and security as foundational principles of their AI initiatives. They can build trust and credibility with players by implementing robust data governance frameworks and adhering to stringent privacy standards. Safeguarding players’ sensitive information and preserving the integrity of their platforms will become critical in the AI-powered casino era.

Artificial intelligence has the power to seriously disrupt the online casino industry and alter the way casinos operate and engage with players. From personalized experiences and predictive analytics to enhanced security and compliance, AI is a strategic enabler that casinos can use to drive sustainable growth and unlock new revenue streams. We’re sure that as AI technology progresses, new gaming experiences that we couldn’t have even imagined will soon become the norm!

Read More: How Provably Fair Gaming is changing the Online Casino Industry

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Casino & Games

Are Cryptocurrencies and Casino Games a Match Made in Heaven?



Cryptocurrency and Casino Games

Crypto bros will tell you with a straight face that bitcoin fixes everything. While blockchain technology and decentralisation do have the potential to positively impact different industries, is it really suitable for casino games? Strap in as we pull back the curtain and explore whether or not crypto is right for online gambling!

Players Benefit From Faster Transactions

When you cash out from an online casino using cryptocurrencies, your winnings will arrive in under 10 minutes. This is an epic improvement compared to traditional online casinos, which can keep you waiting for up to seven days! If you can’t stand waiting for your winnings, then consider placing your next bet with crypto.

Cryptocurrencies Enhance Privacy

A big benefit cryptocurrencies offer when playing casino games is anonymity. A lot of crypto casinos don’t require you to share any personal information, and you can forget about proving your source of funds and uploading your ID.

This is in stark contrast to traditional online casinos, which have to follow strict regulations, and it’s getting to the point where they want to do a full background check on you so that you can play a few lousy hands of blackjack.

Provably Fair Increases Transparency

Provably fair is a cryptographic system used in online casinos to enhance security and transparency. It enables you to verify the fairness of a game’s outcome, ensuring that neither the casino nor the player can cheat. The system uses algorithms and open-source code, allowing you to independently confirm that the game’s results are random and not manipulated. Probably fair mechanisms protect against fraud and establish a level playing field, fostering a more secure and trustworthy environment for both you and the casino.

There Are Regulatory Concerns

The unregulated nature of crypto casinos has raised significant concerns among authorities, primarily related to money laundering and safety issues for players. Cryptocurrencies provide a degree of anonymity, making them attractive for illicit activities. Money laundering can be easier to conceal in the decentralised world of crypto casinos, as traditional banking regulations and oversight often do not apply. This opacity poses a challenge for authorities attempting to monitor and prevent financial crimes.

The lack of regulation in the crypto casino space can also compromise player safety. You may encounter unfair practices, lack of accountability, and scams on unregulated platforms. In regulated environments, player funds and personal information are safeguarded, and game fairness is ensured via gaming authorities who closely monitor sites.

Cryptocurrency Volatility Is an Issue

While bitcoin may have potential as an asset, it’s currently not very suitable as a currency due to its volatility. You could win a big multiplier on your favourite slot and think you’re cashing out $1,000 worth of bitcoin, but before you know it, the market has dropped 30% in a day, and you’re left with $700.

Also, if you’re a true believer in bitcoin, then due to its deflationary qualities, you should expect its price to rise over time. If that is the case, it doesn’t make sense to spend bitcoin, instead, you should be hoarding as much as you can and spending fiat, which you expect to continue to drop in value. If you do decide to play casino games with bitcoin and other similar cryptocurrencies, you need to realise that you’re taking on additional risk. You’re not only betting that you will beat the casino but also that the crypto price will remain the same or increase.

Most people who tout the wonders of bitcoin actually just want the US dollar on the blockchain so they can have full control over their money and effortlessly spend their cash worldwide. This is where tether (USDT) saves the day. Tether is a cryptocurrency that is pegged to the US dollar, which means 1 tether always equals 1 USD. Now, tether is slightly mysterious – no one exactly knows how they manage to maintain the peg, and a few times, they have briefly lost it. However, currently, it’s the best digital equivalent of the USD and is ideal for online gambling.

It’s easy to see why millions of players are using cryptocurrencies to play casino games. Crypto games are probably fair, and crypto casinos don’t require KYC and payout quickly! However, cryptocurrencies’ volatility does cause some issues, and players need to be careful of rogue operators due to the unregulated nature of the industry.

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