Illinois Is Looking to Legalize Online Gambling
The gambling industry across the United States has been bombarded with news of the legalization of online gaming across three major states, Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey, as well as the potential deregulation of states like California. We’ve gotten so used to seeing the headlines we simply tend to skim the literature now. But all of a sudden, a new story has emerged that the state of Illinois may be truly looking to jump on the online gambling band wagon.
A 67-page proposition has materialized that aims to legalize a multitude of gambling formats via the world wide web. To coordinate the structure, the regulatory definitions of the bill propose the creation of a new segment within the Illinois Lottery, entitled the Division of Internet Gaming. Land-based companies that applied for and received an online gaming license from the Illinois Lottery would be permitted to offer a wide range of gambling amusements to adult residents of the state.
There isn’t a lot of information available just yet on how and why the online gambling bill was introduced, but according to sources, a preliminary draft was delivered into the hands of Illinois State Senate President John Cullerton by the official’s aides. Senator Cullerton is known throughout The Prairie State for being a strong, long-time proponent of gambling interests.
This is not the first time Illinois has debated the online gambling issue; if you can call previous efforts a debate. Last year, lawmakers attempted to push a bill that would legalize internet gambling, but it died long before the governor got a chance to review it. A more recent bill, which focused primarily on the expansion of the brick-and-mortar casino industry across the state, also included language for an online gambling measure. That part of the bill’s minutiae was stripped entirely, however, the moment Governor Pat Quinn got ahold of it.
Gov. Quinn stated back in March that he found the entire idea of online gambling to be too new, and ultimately “problematic”. Concerning his staunch refusal to even consider it, he stated that “Anytime you have something brand new it shouldn’t just be thrown into a bill at the last minute.”
Due to the governor’s instantaneous, outright refusal to even cogitate the idea, it’s somewhat surprising that a new proposal would be introduced so soon. Then again, with the recent launch of the very first legal online gambling site in the US, there may be no better time for Gov. Quinn to reconsider his prior refusal.
UltimatePoker, owned by the Station Casinos group and named after one of their most famous ventures, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), dealt it’s very first real-money poker hand at 9am on April 30, 2013. Now more than two weeks later, the Nevada-based poker site has yet to meet any competition, but there are numerous challengers currently in preparation to join the Silver State’s soon-to-be rapidly growing market.
Should the governor take the time to contemplate the idea and the necessary steps to bring about a secure regulatory licensing structure, residents of Illinois could see online gambling operators licensed and active as early as 2014, if not sooner. Then again, knowing Quinn to be the ‘Slow and Steady Wins the Race’ type of official, 2014 would be a much more realistic projection. For now, all supporters of a regulated online gaming market in the Land of Lincoln have their eyes trained on the state capitol, awaiting the next move.