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Illinois Ready to Sell Lottery Tickets Online

Practice Made Possible by DOJ Letter in December 2011


Just three months after the U.S. Department of Justice stunned some in the gaming world by declaring the Wire Act obsolete at stopping anything but sports betting, the Illinois Lottery is now ready to go online this weekend.

Doing so would be the first ever completely legal form of intrastate real-money gambling on the Internet in the country.

Card Player contacted the Illinois Lottery office, but no one was available for further comment on the plans. The story was first reported by The State Journal-Register.

Illinois Lottery sales totaled $2.28 billion in the 2011 fiscal year, according to the organization’s website.

Despite Nevada adopting regulations for intrastate online poker, the DOJ letter was actually in response to Illinois, as well as New York, seeking to use cyberspace for lottery sales. Poker was not explicitly mentioned in the opinion.

However, many in gaming saw the clarification as opening up the possibility for states to pursue broad online gaming.

Ellen Whittemore, attorney for Nevada web poker applicant International Game Technology, told Card Player in December that the letter also “cracks open the door” for interstate activity. She added that Silver State regulators already knew what the DOJ’s stance on the issue was going to be.

While the Illinois Lottery is about to begin a new chapter in its nearly 30-year history, Nevada is preparing to launch its intrastate online poker market. More than 20 applications have already been submitted by potential licensees and reviewing the paperwork is underway.

The aftermath of the DOJ clarification hasn’t been all peachy for gaming.

Despite the federal government’s help, Mississippi, Iowa and Hawaii have, so far this year, all failed to legalize online gaming.

Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus