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“In March 2014, when asked about online gambling, [Illinois] State Senate President John Cullerton stated, ‘It’s something that’s going to be here. There are three states that have it.’ Still, they’re likely two years away. Our earliest guess would be legalization sometime in late 2016, with internet gaming going live sometime in the following year.

Gaming in the State of Illinois

The State of Illinois legalized riverboat gambling in 1990, and has been grappling with gambling expansion in the state ever since. Obviously land-based/riverboat gambling has forced its way in and claimed its share of wagering revenues giving opponents-in-common pause to consider the need for expanded gaming. Illinois now has nine land-based/riverboat gambling casinos but has long enjoyed much success from legalized horseracing, video gaming, and lottery wagering.

Particularly, Illinois’s reliance on its lottery system is seen as a very strong and stable economic force in the state. Expanded gaming in Illinois will, no doubt, have a negative effect on Illinois’s current legalized gaming, and the state understands the opposition with great caution. Therefore, any expansions will be long thought out and carefully studied – not only by the legislature, but opponents-in-common. For example, in April 2013, the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association pressed for removal of the online gambling proposal included in a gaming expansion bill and was successful. It was removed. The bill, itself, was vetoed by Governor Pat Quinn because of weak ethics enforcement standards and what was apparently viewed as a sinister move to remove the entire Gaming Board.

The Illinois House

There seems to be a longstanding problem with ethics enforcement standards lacking in gambling expansion bills that have been brought before the Illinois legislature. The concern is their strength in thwarting organized crime, etc.; therefore, those standards must be well thought out, comprehensive and rigid. This apparently was not achieved in past bills that have been introduced. Added to the stalwarts, however, are gridlocks that form over these bills for what seems to be obvious “big buck” opportunism.

Campaigning money flows to sponsors of bills from “interested parties” in attempts to influence their success in passing. However, it is the yea and nay efforts circulating the legislature via work-for-hire lobbyists, law firms and consultants causing the gridlocks. Working gridlocks, in fact, have become significant money-making opportunities for them. Proof positive is the fact that gridlocked bills are now known as “fetcher bills” that, as all know, eventually fade away. Should the gridlock phenomena be diffused, those lobbyists, law firms and consultants can look to suffer major financial losses. Literally, and currently, they are “wagering.”

Online Gaming Eventually Will Penetrate.

Never let it be said that if an Illinoisan (or visitors to the state) wish to gamble, they do not have a clue as how to ‘participate.’ Illinois has a long history of legalized and successful gaming. As for online gambling in Illinois, it is alive and well for Illinoisans in other states that allow online gambling (New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware), winnings of course, subject to federal and Illinois state taxes. Let’s see what’s up for ‘online’ in 2015-16.