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Illinois Internet Gambling To Be Separated From Brick-And-Mortar Casino Legislation

Lawmaker To Introduce Standalone Measure: Report

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Internet gambling has been taken off the table for now in Illinois, but it will soon reemerge.

Supporters of expanding gambling in Illinois, which has 10 riverboat casinos at present, are looking to make any pro-gambling bill the most attractive as possible to the eyes of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who has vetoed similar measures multiple times before. This means that Internet poker and brick-and-mortar gambling are going to be separate issues, according to reporting from the Associated Press. Current language related to web gambling will be removed.

Quinn reportedly said he wasn’t ready to consider Internet gambling. He said he was “not excited about it at all,” according to the Associated Press.

In August of last year, Quinn rejected a bill that would have expanded gambling in the state to include a new land-based casino, four new riverboat casinos and allow existing racetracks to install slot machines. The bill would have created a casino in Chicago and added riverboat casinos in Danville, Rockford, Park City and another location.

One of the backers of the newest gambling proposal will take out language related to Internet poker. Sen. President John Cullerton reportedly plans to push for web poker legalization in a separate bill at a later point in time. It’s unclear when.

Supporters reportedly think gambling expansion could net the state between $400 million and $1 billion a year in additional tax revenue. According to The News-Gazette, a state lawmaker once said online gaming could bring the state $150 million a year.

Illinois has a strong lottery, and there once was talk of allowing it to oversee the virtual casino games, should they ever be authorized by legislators. The most recent plan, though, was to let commercial gambling firms run the intrastate industry.

It was proposed to cost $250,000 to apply for an Internet gaming license in Illinois, and if approved for one, firms would have to pay the state a $20 million fee.

According to previous Internet gaming language, Illinois residents already gamble online. The state wants a piece of the action. The legislation also would have allowed the state to potentially enter into deals with other jurisdictions in order to create more liquidity for the industry. It seems likely those plans will return in the new bill.

Online gambling is only legal in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.

For more news and tournament info from Illinois, check out its stage page.