Online Gambling May Soon Be Legal in Illinois

If you have been following our blog, you will be familiar with the evolution of laws relating to online gambling in the U.S. and know that Illinois was the first state to operate an online lottery ticket program.  It now appears that Illinois may soon take the next step to legalizing Internet poker and other online monetary-based games within its borders.

Yesterday, a bill was introduced and approved by an Illinois Senate Committee which, if fully enacted, would authorize online gambling in many forms and double the number of brick and mortar casinos within the State.  According to Sen. Terry Link (D), the sponsoring Senator behind the bill, a full Senate vote could come as soon as this afternoon.  However, several Republican senators, including Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R), have voiced their objections to the bill moving so quickly through the Senate Committee and would like more time to review the bill before putting it to a vote.

According to Senator Link, the bill would generate yearly Internet gambling revenues of $150 million and increase the overall revenues of brick and mortar casinos to $1 billion.  Except for $10 million allocated to Gamblers Anonymous, the bill specifies that all proceeds from Internet gambling would go towards the State’s pension fund. Likewise, the proceeds from brick and mortar casinos would be used for education, which will be desperately needed after Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s $400 million education budget cut announcement earlier this week.

While it appears likely that the bill will be passed in some form, Governor Quinn stated that the gambling industry, both Internet-based and brick and mortar, will be heavily regulated with “strong ethical standards [and] comprehensive oversight.”

The development of federal and state interpretations of Internet gambling remains a significant topic for all gaming attorneys and those interested in Internet poker and gambling in general.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic or pursuing a venture in this area, please e-mail us at info@kleinmoynihan.com, or call us at (212) 246-0900.

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