Yet another state could be on its way to offer legal online casinos in the US as the debate in Illinois continues.
What originally started as a discussion about a bill dealing with new brick-and-mortar casinos and physical slot machines has shifted its focus on the potential legalization of local internet gambling.
The legislative proposal submitted by Sen. Terry Link (D) therefore talks not only about the possibility of new casinos in Chicago, but also a whole new dimension of gaming, by allowing land-based casino and horse racing track operators to operate gambling websites.
With this proposal Illinois joins the ranks of a number of other states, which have either legalized online gambling or have taken serious steps towards it. Since the Department of Justice made it clear in 2011 that federal American gambling laws do not preclude state-level legislation on online gambling, activity has really picked up in several states.
As it is the case in most of those states, the need for more budget revenues goes hand in hand with recognizing the reality that online gambling is here to stay.
According to Illinois Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones, “this is already going on. It’s not like we’re inventing anything.”
Provided that adequate protections are put into the law, Gov. Pat Quinn (D) is cautiously supportive of the concept.
Others would prefer to wait with the online part. “I would absolutely like to see another state experience this live before we jump in,” said Sen. Matt Murphy (R), a past proponent of gambling.
He is likely to get his wish as Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey are already putting the final touches on their regulations. This wait, however, may come at the expense of more lost revenues for the Illinois budget, as long as those locals who want to play online poker in the US are forced to visit offshore sites.