Illinois Moving Toward Online Casino Games Legislation

By Maria McCoyGoogle

Senate President John Cullerton, Democrat from Chicago is currently introducing a bill that aims to create a Division of Internet Gaming within the state lottery.

In a letter addressed to Chicago Governor Pat Quinn and fellow colleagues in the legislature, Senate President John Cullerton wrote,  “Certain forms of iGaming, especially poker, rely on large pools of potential players, and states that move swiftly to design a system that captures the widest audience of participants will have an advantage in terms of long-range success. The goal is to make the state nimble enough to adjust to new Internet gambling approaches.”

Cullerton believes that Illinois should be a leader in allowing online poker and other online casino games to be played at top online casinos within the state. He stated that the financial payoff of hundreds of millions of dollars is enough incentive.

Although there is support for the online casino games legislation, there is also significant opposition. “If you allow Internet poker to be sanctioned by the state of Illinois, there are a whole lot of questions that need to be answered,” said Patty Schuh, spokeswoman for Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno of Lemont. “Being first isn’t necessarily a good thing.”

Senate President John Cullerton is pushing for the approval of his proposed legislation in the current meeting of the state legislature, ending on May 31. The push is an effort to qualify under a measure pending in the US Senate that would only allow states with a regulatory framework in place to offer online casino games.

Governor Quinn and members of his staff have stated that the focus now for lawmakers in the state is lowering the costs of health care for the poor and public employee pensions.


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