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Online Casino News - June, 2009

Illinois Close to Approving Online Horserace Betting


  Seed Newsvine

by Margaret Oliveira, News Staff Writer

June 5, 2009

Online casino gambling may not be legal in the United States, but it's one step closer to being that way. The State of Illinois has passed a measure that allows online wagering on horse races. Following an approval by the State Senate, Illinois' House passed the new law by a vote of 87 to 27 - a major show of support for any legislation, albeit of the highly controversial gambling sort. And let's not forget we're talking about wagering on animals - an entire separate topic of concern.

There wasn't a great showing of support, however, for online casinos. Another bill calling for the legalization of this growing pastime was voted down. Goes to show just how much interests there are in the land-based casino gambling industry in Illinois. It makes one wonder why online horserace betting was even passed at all. But then again, the horseracing industry in Illinois has been needing a boost for a good while, and frankly, is on the edge of becoming a dying breed.

As mentioned, while online gambling would appear to be one step closer to being legalized in Illinois, there's a bit of a catch. The only reason why online horserace betting could be legalized in the first place is due to carve outs written into the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) - and hence the reason why online casino gambling could not be passed.

Protectionism has long been a major motivator in key legislation, however, it would seem that Illinois is being presses by even greater stakes - a state deficit that could reach in excess of $11 billion by the end of this fiscal year. Of course, the legislation still needs to be approved by Illinois Governor, Patrick Quinn. Considering the wide margin of support in the Senate and House, Governor Quinn is expected to give it a green light, thus allowing eight thoroughbred and harness racing tracks in Illinois to offer online betting through their very own websites.



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