casino 063020ELGIN – A measure co-sponsored by State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) meant to provide support to casinos became law Tuesday.

“Many businesses have been able to reopen under the Restore Illinois plan, but casinos have not,” Castro said. “A casino can be one of the largest sources of employment in its area, and the surrounding communities are often heavily reliant on the tax revenue it provides. If casinos are forced to close for good as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it would have long lasting and devastating effects on the area.”

Senate Bill 516 was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker Tuesday and makes several changes to previous gaming bills. It is meant to lessen the financial burden of casinos, which have been closed since the first Stay at Home Order was issued in March.

Specifically, the bill:

  • Increases the period of time casinos have to pay fees from two years to six years and removes the requirement to pay interest in the fees;
  • Moves the implementation date of a new, lower tax rate to July 1, 2020, rather than having the rate kick in only when a new casino opens; and
  • Extends the due date for sports licensing and other fees by one year to July 1, 2021.

“By providing these small changes, we’re giving the casinos the same opportunity to bounce back that other institutions have had, which gives them a bit of breathing room, while not completely removing their obligation to pay their fair share,” Castro said.

Castro’s district includes the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin. The measure passed both chambers of the General Assembly with bipartisan support during the May special session.