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Illinois Online Gambling on Hold

Posted on by John Lathram

Illinois Online Gambling on HoldA report earlier this year stated that up to 10 states were considering igaming legislation in 2014, but several are instead taking a “wait and see” approach.

Illinois is the latest state to hold off on regulating online gambling, as the issue of expanding land-based gaming operations must first be sorted out. That was the word from Illinois Senate President John Cullerton at a recent press conference pertaining to the state budget.

The state legislature has before it proposals that would bring additional casinos to the Land of Lincoln, and possibly one in the city of Chicago. But those bills have yet to advance despite Illinois finding itself in desperate measures and in need of additional revenue.

Many still believe that Illinois will one day join the online gambling regulated states of Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. But that will likely not be the case anytime soon considering that lawmakers have not gotten around to finalizing the brick and mortar gaming expansion issue.

Like other states, Illinois has to weigh the interests of existing casinos as well as its horse racing industry. The idea of allowing slot machines at racetracks has also been discussed in order to inject some life and revenue into that decades-old gambling pastime.

As it stands now, Illinois is losing a lot of revenue to a casino located in nearby Hammond, Indiana. Those residing in the Chicago area who want to gamble have been crossing the border in droves. Planting a casino within Chicago city limits makes a lot of sense for the cash-strapped state.

As far as online poker and gambling legislation, odds are that Illinois can be crossed off the list for the current year. That list includes the likes of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and California. Massachusetts, in particular, is in a somewhat similar situation to Illinois.

Three casinos and one slots parlor will open in Massachusetts in 2016. But the casino licenses have yet to be awarded and state officials have decided to put a time out on the Internet poker and gambling issue until the land-based gaming situation is set in stone.

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