Illinois Close to
Approving Online Horserace Betting
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
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.