Illinois Could Open Doors To Online Gambling


Illinois was the first state to sell lottery tickets online, but somehow they weren't quick enough on the draw to pass legislation on internet gambling. Well, proponents of a new measure hope they get it right this time.

The general proposal is something that is rather elaborate. True, it has a provision for online gambling for Illinois residents, but it also includes plans for five new casinos to be constructed in the state, along with slot machines at both O'Hare Airport and Midway Airport.

In the past the governor, Pat Quinn, has refused to sign legislation that would have allowed online gambling to happen; among his concerns was the fact that there was not enough of a structure in place to oversee the industry and to address ethical concerns, including conflicts of interest.

Part of the initial plan when the online lottery tickets were approved, however, involved creating a Division of Internet Gaming, which would cover the lottery and be in a position to oversee the online gambling industry in the event it became a reality in the state.

Like many other states, the powers-that-be in Illinois see what is being done in New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada, where online gambling is creating new revenue streams, and they ask themselves, "why not us?"

But now they may be able to fill in the blanks. As part of the package, the bill will ban any political contribution that would be made from the gambling industry, and would mandate that an inspector general be appointed for the express purpose of monitoring online gaming. These are things that would seem to address the governor's concerns.

So they can't be first; perhaps the Land of Lincoln can be #4 in line, and you can bet that officials will be keeping a very close eye on the process that is taking place in two large states in particular - Nevada and New Jersey - as they proceed with licensing and move forward with other considerations. They already have land-based casinos, which have been in existence for some time, but there are plenty of lawmakers who believe that the revenues that can be produced could greatly help the state during some tough financial times.