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#IllinoisFail: Online horse race betting is again illegal in Illinois

Friday, Jan 11, 2013

* Last year, $122 million was wagered through what are known as advanced deposit wagering (ADW) websites in Illinois. The sites, like this one, require people to open up an account and then they can place bets on horse races by phone or via the Web. That $122 million represented about a fifth of last year’s total in-state “handle” and the $1.72 million in tax receipts funded 28 percent of the Illinois Racing Board’s budget.

The state legalized ADWs in 2009 and the law was scheduled to sunset last July 1st. The General Assembly extended the sunset to this past January 1st, but then didn’t extend it again. So, ADW is now again illegal in Illinois.

From the Illinois Racing Board’s website

In the absence of legislation extending the authorization to conduct advance deposit wagering (ADW) beyond the current expiration date of December 31, 2012, effective January 1, 2013, advance deposit wagering (via internet/telephone) is prohibited in Illinois. Hopefully this is a short-term situation since it is expected that the Illinois General Assembly will address this issue in the 2013 Spring legislative session. Upon resolution of this issue, the Illinois Racing Board will provide further notice and you should expect to be notified by your ADW provider.

* Scott Jagow at the Paulick Report has more

“It’s been made clear to those providers that it’s the position of the board that ADW wagers on Illinois racing are now illegal,” said Marc Laino, the board’s executive director.

“There was legislation introduced in the veto session in January. It went to committee but didn’t receive enough votes.” […]

The initial legalization of ADW wagering in Illinois took place in 2009. The law was extended for six months in 2012 but expired Jan. 1.

“I’m being told the issue will be taken up by the legislature in mid-February,” Laino said, although he didn’t know whether the ADW authorization might be in stand-alone legislation or rolled into a larger gambling bill.

If this gets rolled into a big gaming bill, then the ongoing legislative impasse could mean even more delays. And that means even more revenue will be lost and more companies at risk of going under.

* And speaking of gaming, the Sun-Times asked Gov. Pat Quinn Wednesday about the Senate releasing its parliamentary hold on a gaming bill that the governor has repeatedly vilified

But on Wednesday, the strident tone the governor once had toward the measure was nowhere to be found as he avoided repeated questions about his intentions with the bill.

“Today’s the day for the Senate and House. The members are sworn in. It’s a day of ceremony and family and democracy,” Quinn said after presiding over the swearing-in ceremony in the Senate at the state Capitol.

“I think it’s important to kind of give the House and Senate their day. There will be plenty of time for us to work on bills,” he said.

Quinn was asked if he still held the same hawkish views against the package.

“I’ve already opined on that in the past, but today is really a day for the new members and re-elected members to come together in bipartisan opportunity to celebrate the fact we have a democracy and we’re always going to keep one,” the governor said.

Pressed on why then he wouldn’t just say he’d veto it, the governor continued to weave.

“There’s plenty of time for that. But today, I think it’s to honor the election of new members and re-elected members of the House and Senate. I’m going to do that. I think that’s a good way for all of us to celebrate the fact the election is over, and now is the time for bipartisan work on important issues like pension reform,” Quinn said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - The Captain - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 10:00 am:

    Has there been any downside to this trial peroid? None that I can see, it would be a good idea to reauthorize this. The Kentucky Derby is the 1st weekend in May and the Preakness is two weeks after that. Since I’m guessing that the Triple Crown races are what drive the most new subscribers I would hope that this issue gets addressed before the usual late May timeframe that actual business tends to get done, by then it may be too late for this year.

  2. - Coach59 - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 10:29 am:

    Again a chance to gain more revenue to help pay the bills just go down the drain. The Governor and Legislature just doesn’t get it! It is time to give other people a try. I keep seeing all the tax revenue going into Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, etc. because our leaders can’t figure it out. If I was Mr. Quinn lets start by being a leader and pass this SB 744 and then go after a compromise with the leaders of the house and senate on the Republican side and Democrat side along with the Union leaders in a close door meeting and not come out until everyone can come to a workable compromise! Is it that hard Governor!

  3. - Rules don't apply to me - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 10:36 am:

    ===“It’s been made clear to those providers that it’s the position of the board that ADW wagers on Illinois racing are now illegal,” said Marc Laino, the board’s executive director.===
    Well at least one of the sites didn’t get the memo. Twinspires, the ADW site owned by Arlington Park’s parent company Churchill Downs, is saying screw you to the racing board and is still accepting wagers from Illinois residents.
    At least the site that you have a link to, Betzotic, is following the law and is not taking bets. It will be interesting to see if the AG takes any action against firms taking these bets online.

  4. - nickypiii - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 10:49 am:

    The legislature of Illinois has let horse racing decline due to a lack of purse increasing “racino” laws. Iowa and Indiana have passed us by because of the “racino” funded purse structure. Illinois had the SECOND BEST harness racing in the country until the proliferation of casno gaming in other horse racing states. Thorough breds racing in Ill is garbage now. The continued lack of action to make horse racing competetive again here is sickening. casino lobbies run the legislature away from a common sense competetive need of slotas at the tracks. Increased purses give incentive for better horses to run here for the bigger money. Arlington Park closed because of the lack of profit. Eliminate the casino subsidy for the tracks and give them their own revenue through expanded gaming. i.e. SLOTS

  5. - Coach59 - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 10:59 am:

    Well said nickypiii! Only if the Governor and legislature would listen!

  6. - Aaron - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 11:03 am:

    nickypiii said, “Arlington Park closed because of the lack of profit.”


  7. - Nearly Normal - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 11:53 am:

    There are no races in the winter here. Have to go to Caifornina or south for any races in the winter.

  8. - Roamin' Numeral - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 11:55 am:

    Nearly Normal,

    Huh? Balmoral and Maywood are running now. Plus, why shouldn’t Illinois residents be able to bet on the tracks in other states that are racing now?

  9. - Because I said so... - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 11:55 am:

    I think a public analysis of political contributions to Gov. Quinn from the casino industry would make for an interesting read.

  10. - Nearly Normal - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 12:19 pm:

    Arlington is closed for racing for the winter. See their website

  11. - Nearly Normal - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 12:21 pm:

    Racetracks need to attract customers so I have no problems with slots at the tracks if it helps the bottom line.

  12. - nickypiii - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 1:06 pm:

    Arlington Park closed a few years back with no annual racing because of the lack of support from the State via expanded gambling. Lawsuit by casinos operateters held back the payments due to the tracks. After Casino operators lost the lawsuit, released money from escrowed casino payments to the horse tracks allowed Arlington to start racing again.

  13. - Roamin' Numeral - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 1:11 pm:

    When you said “here,” I naturally assumed you meant “in Illinois” and not just at Arlington. Both Illinois harness tracks race year round and Hawthorne begins its next meet on Feb. 15.

  14. - DE - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 1:15 pm:

    Mr. D’s bar is open in the east end of the grandstand of Arlington for drinks and betting every Friday-Sunday. Twinspires is accepting bets today. But without slots, Hawthorne may be done. They have slashed purses for the 2/13 meet start. Betting is down. The horses are quarentined from the EHV outbreak and no track in the country will accept a shipper from Hawthorne now. Jim Miller left for a ‘better’ job with a national stable. And the legislature can’t even extend the ADW law. Like a true Cub fan, all I can think is ‘wait till next year’, or retire and move to Florida with Calabrese.

  15. - Obamas Puppy - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 1:56 pm:

    Platatudes, talking point, highlight issue and….scene.

  16. - Rudy - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 2:05 pm:

    Putting a sunset clause on advance deposit wagering was state government playing big brother. Allowing the sun to set was state government neglect. The Racing Board sent the legislature and governor many warning memos in recent months. But the bosses were too busy doing nothing to notice.

  17. - ChiSpy - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 2:44 pm:

    “Iowa and Indiana have passed us by?” In what sense? Is the racing any better there? Arlington and Hawthorne raised purses with the Impact Fee money and what happened? We saw the same cheap horses we had been seeing - no change…except the trainers, owners, and jockeys made more money, and the track owners pocketed the tracks’ share of the Impact money. The fans got NOTHING. And that’s the way it will be if the tracks get slots, too.

  18. - Mittuns - Friday, Jan 11, 13 @ 2:57 pm:

    Horse racing is one of my favorite pastimes and the failure to re-up this law was a big personal disappointment.

    I believe there was some conflict between Arlington/Fairmount, the ADWs, and the IRB over the shared revenues generated by ADW fees/handle. The ADWs wanted to maintain the current fee structure and some horsemen and tracks wanted a bigger share.

    They need to get this fixed ASAP. Prep races for the Kentucky Derby are about to get into gear. Fortify is my early favorite.

  19. - kickiclover - Wednesday, Jan 16, 13 @ 4:36 pm:

    i am very mad that illinois has made online horse betting illegal again i am a handicapped person and can’t get out to wager on my favorite sport. the illinois lawmakers have time for casinos and slot machines in other public places, why not let us horseplayers have our fun too.

  20. - Stormcatlover - Friday, Jan 18, 13 @ 4:21 pm:

    OMG..went to place a few bets and got blocked, what in the world???? Enjoy horse racing so much cant get to tracks here in the winter..PLEASE bring it back asap..especially with derby down the road..will miss it so much, and also wont the state of Illinois revenues?Hopefully this will be resolved mid February!

  21. - Freight Train - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 11:36 am:

    Unbelievable! Now my wagering tax will go to the state of Iowa.

  22. - gil c - Tuesday, Jan 22, 13 @ 2:48 pm:

    No wonder illinois is the laughing stock of the nation!!!!! We need a new GOVERNOR ASAP!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. - Miffed - Thursday, Jan 24, 13 @ 8:23 pm:

    Illinois is the most repressed State in the Union! It is sickening that “they” allow something for three years and then take it away.

  24. - 2ndAmendment - Wednesday, Jan 30, 13 @ 8:48 pm:

    What a state. Law abiding citizens can’t legally carry a gun for protection and now cannot wager via the internet. New leaders are needed in this state.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* NYT looks at Griffin, Rauner
* LaQuan McDonald case: Three suggestions for state action
* Yesterday's blog posts

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