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Question of the day

Wednesday, Mar 5, 2014

* From an article posted on

John Cullerton, the president of the Illinois State Senate, announced his support for legalized online gambling in his state. The senator said he expects “stiff opposition” to his proposal, but the state could expect a 9-figure windfall in additional revenues if pro-gambling legislation was passed.

The Poker Players Alliance has estimated Illinois would make nearly $200 million a year if it licensed, regulated, and taxed online poker sites. Over the past two years, three other U.S. states have legalized online casinos and card rooms, and these states are already receiving additional revenue from the gaming activity.

Cullerton says the need to protect Illinois’s land-based casinos is going to be a complicating factor in any legalization process. Several factors are leading to Illinois lawmakers trying to find new ways to collect funds. With the state’s tax base increasingly impatient with new taxes, Cullerton believes the state’s leaders need to discuss all possibilities–including tapping the online gambling market. […]

When asked to address moral complaints on the ethics of approving online gaming with state laws, Cullerton added, “The point is people are already gambling, and we’re not making any of the money. There are other states that are just getting started that are bringing in some money. So that may play a role in it when we try to pass a budget.” […]

Still, Cullerton believes the greatest opposition will not come from the problem gambling groups and others against gambling on moral grounds. He believes the state’s already-entrenched gambling interests could line up against the plan. If so, they might pour significant amounts of money into swaying public opinion, lobbying state lawmakers, and defeating any bill put before the legislature. Such efforts have met with success in other states, and can be certain to tap a certain segment of the population which is anti-gambling.

One factor in the favor of Cullerton and his allies is the framework state-backed online gambling has taken in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware, the other states which have approved online poker. In those states, not everyone can collect a license and start accepting licensed and regulated players. The pre-existing gambling establishments are given the right to secure a license for online gambling websites, so the established gaming operations stand to gain from the venture.

* The Question: Should Illinois legalize onlne gambling? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

surveys & polls

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - circularfiringsquad - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:00 pm:

    Hopefully The President has someone operate this program other than the dolts at the gaming board. Their fumbles has cost the state, cities, vendors and businessmen tens of million of dollars.
    Giving these fumblers control here is a super bad idea.

  2. - Norseman - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:01 pm:

    IL needs the $

  3. - Norseman - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:02 pm:

    That would be yes

  4. - the Patriot - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:03 pm:

    It is not sustainable, it prohibits real economic growth, and it hits low income folks the hardest.

  5. - Big Joe - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:03 pm:

    Our state needs the money, and if we can keep gambling money from going outside our borders, then we should allow it to happen.

  6. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:04 pm:

    I voted no. I think this is a step backward from slots at tracks, video poker in taverns, additional casinos, etc. At least with this traditional gambling you need to leave your house. There are jobs connected to keeping the gambling venue clean, for example, or feeding the gamblers. Not so if you’re in your mom’s basement playing poker on-line.

    I don’t think casinos are economic engines, they are more like vaccuum cleaners that suck in dollars that would otherwise be spent elsewhere. But at least casinos hire employees and buy goods and services. You get none of that economic activity with legalized on-line poker.

  7. - Rob Roy - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:04 pm:

    Opens the door for big brother to monitor online transactions of all types.

  8. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:08 pm:

    I agree with 47. Also, the exact same arguments could be used for pot. We shouldn’t do that either.

  9. - Walker - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:13 pm:

    Yes. You’re in or you’re out. If it’s legal by other distribution channels, it should be available on-line. Trying to control people from doing this on out-of-state sites is futile.

  10. - Samster23 - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:14 pm:

    #1. It is not the job of the government to tell me what I can or can’t spend my money on. Poker is a game of skill and is allowed to be played at a regular casino. Before it was banned online poker was a 4 billion dollar industry that if taxed properly would result in potentially billions in revenue, with no real costs in that Illinois already has gaming enforcement for casinos.

  11. - John A Logan - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:15 pm:

    No. The shop worn argument that “people are already doing it” has never had much merit. I don’t mind if President Cullerton would just say “we need the money.” However the “people are already doing it” line rings hollow. People are already doing alot of things, but it doesn’t make those things a good idea.

  12. - Nonplussed - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    If by online gambling you mean online poker I think that is an easy “yes”. At least one Federal Court has ruled that poker is a game of skill and not gambling.

  13. - In the Middle - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:20 pm:

    Logan @ 1:15… I couldn’t agree more.

  14. - Boone's is Back - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:21 pm:

    Yes- the revenue is much needed

  15. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:23 pm:

    Oh, 47th. You are always right.

  16. - OneMan - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:23 pm:

    Yeah if you are talking poker, one of the things that has held poker back in Illinois vs Indiana is that is takes a gaming position in a different way than it does in Indiana. So if you combine this with a change so there can be more poker at the casinos, then I am fine with it.

  17. - Toure's Latte - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:24 pm:

    47th makes one leg of my argument quite well, but I would also note the GA constantly revisits the well looking for more water, and more never seems to be enough. I was an early supporter, but I have reservations after all these additional expansions.

  18. - Steve - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:27 pm:

    Yes, Illinois needs money.

  19. - DuPage - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:32 pm:

    Yes, with 2 conditions.

    1. Charge what other states do for similar licenses. I read somewhere that some of the Casino licenses in Illinois had state fees of a tiny fraction of what other states got for similar sized operations.

    2. All state revenue over cost goes into the state pension systems.

  20. - Anon - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:32 pm:

    Poker is at least somewhat unique in the gambling world.

    There’s no skill involved in pumping a slot machine full of quarters. There’s some skill involved in blackjack, video poker, roulette, but poker involves serious strategy, competition and risktaking.

    There’s a reason it’s basically the only televised gambling event.

    Yes, we need the money. But it’s also just fun to do. Back in the day I’d pop $10 in my account and play some cheap games to see if I could make a buck or two.

  21. - SAP - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:33 pm:

    Yes, as long as it jibes with federal wire statute. With apologies to Thomas Jefferson, online gambling is a tax on the willing. I prefer that to a tax on the unwilling.

  22. - Jeff Trigg - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:41 pm:

    Yes. Locking human beings in cages, or fining them at the end of a government gun, for playing poker online is ridiculous and byzantine. As if such a prohibition can be enforced anyway.

  23. - Commonsense in Illinois - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:42 pm:

    Frankly Illinois should offer Sports Book. Billions of dollars are wagered every day and its silly for Illinois not to use it for generating additional revenues. Online is fine, but Sports is king!

  24. - Ahoy! - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:49 pm:

    Yes, because it’s already available, it might as well be taxed and regulated.

  25. - Nonplussed - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:50 pm:

    Commonsense, sports isn’t King. In Nevada, about $3.5B is wagered in sports in a year. 95% of that is returned to winners. Therefore, they make about $175M in revenue a year. The State makes a small fraction of that which is taxed.

    There is anecdotal evidence that there is $380B in illegal sports bets each year. But those estimate are guesses and include NCAA and Super Bowl pools.

  26. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:54 pm:

    Would we be doing this if we didn’t need the money?

    So, just when did we start using the same logic as Walter White?

  27. - PoolGuy - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 1:57 pm:

    Commonsense, now that is some common sense. sports book in Illinois. I like it.

    and voted yes, had friends who played online poker and they loved it.

  28. - Wally - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:00 pm:

    Votes yes, Samster is 100% correct

  29. - quicknote - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:00 pm:

    It will get the professional poker players back online and out of the poker room in Hammond, which will dramatically increase my chances of winning there.

  30. - A guy... - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:02 pm:

    No. Gimmick. Very dumb, leading to diminishing returns gimmick. It’s not the foundation of any sound economic plan I’ve encountered. For the guys who say “it’s not up to the government to tell me how to spend my money” Go ahead and spend it. No one’s stopping you. It’s not up to the government to facilitate a virtual casino for you either.

  31. - Rich Muny - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:10 pm:

    Online poker is very common in the rest of the world. It’s time for America to embrace this. I hope Illinois moves forward on authorizing online poker.

  32. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:14 pm:

    Because revenue.

  33. - Arizona Bob - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    Nope. It means a net outflow of wealth from the state to the big gaming corporations with just a trickle to the local economy and tax base.

    On the other hand, if you only place them where they’ll take out-of-state dollars at borders and airports (yes, I think having slots at O’Hare and Midway like they do a McCarren in Vegas is a good idea), it may make sense.

    All the studies I’ve read seem to indicate that in state gambling losses come from individuals disposable income that would have been spent on “entertainment” like restaurants movies. It’s a zero sum game, and less than zero when the corporate gambling profits are siphoned from Illinois.

  34. - zatoichi - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    How many sides can an issue have:
    1. Please protect me from myself.
    2. It’s my money to spend as I like.
    3. Big brother is spying/intruding on me.
    4. State needs the money.
    5. This hurts poor people.
    6. How many people in this state actually gamble.
    7. I don’t gamble, don’t care.
    8. Gambling is morally wrong.
    9. We need to protect the established gambling locations.

    Smoking in cars, soda per ounce, gambling, register guns, pot. After awhile it is always the same repeating argument.

  35. - Westward - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:17 pm:

    Yes and here’s why. The boats don’t make their money at the tables. In fact, unless the players move to tables or slots, I’m sure it’s pretty close to breakeven. Obviously, having the tables brings players in. But because Illinois defines gaming positions, in my opinion the wrong way, the boats are better to have a slot machine, which makes them more money. Man, legalize online gambling. You can’t place sport bets legally now and those people using bookies will for sure generate revenue. I know, cause I’m one of them!

  36. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    How does online gambling get regulated?

    What about people who have gambling problems? I can see someone avoiding temptation by avoiding casinos. But is it fair to make gambling available when someone is at her/his computer?

    Also, expanding gambling always seemed like a desperation move. It’s a revenue stream that’s available rather than creating a vibrant economy that produces goods and services.

    I don’t want to be a stick in the mud and be completely inflexible, but this seems like bad policy.

  37. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:20 pm:

    If Illinois is moving to a vice taxation revenue model, I’m more sympathetic to legalizing recreational marijuana and legalizing & regulating sex work.

  38. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:20 pm:


    This would be too messy due to federal regulations. It is also unnecessary and redundant.

    According to COGFA’s 2013 Wagering Update, existing gambling operations grew by 11.3% in 2013, adding $120 million in new revenue to the state’s coffers from gaming. $30 million of that came from video poker, while the rest came mostly from growth in lottery and riverboat gambling.

    In recent years, we have hired new management to expand the Illinois Lottery. We have passed video poker so machines can now be found in bars. We have opened a massive new casino in Des Plaines.

    Last year, we also passed legislation that would add 5 new casinos, including one in Chicago, and add slots to O’Hare, Midway and racetracks.

    The lottery is in convenience stores and grocery stores, with live drawings on television. Gambling is also available in casinos, racetracks, OTB’s, bars, truck stops and VFW halls, among other locations. It may soon be available in airports as well.

    Gambling is already expanding at a rapid clip in Illinois. There is no need to put it on steroids by embracing online gambling as well.

    Plus, there is the pesky problem of the federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which outlaws financial transactions involving online gambling service providers.

    Should anyone think the feds are playing around, they may wish to ask the founders of the 3 largest online poker companies accepting U.S. players, all of whom were indicted in 2011 for violating the UIEGA and other laws.

    We already have plenty of legal and easily accessible means of gambling available as is.

  39. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:24 pm:

    Keep the revenue in-state.

  40. - Steve Leoni - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:24 pm:

    3 Years ago, Illinois raised my income tax by 67%. It’s time to FIND OTHER SOURCES OF REVENUE such as online gaming, and stop increasing our taxes. We pay more than enough.

  41. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:24 pm:

    My post above inadvertently omits the fact the Governor vetoed last year’s gaming bill last year. My point was not that it is law, but that it is far from dead and may be passed or even signed this year.
    Typing too fast, lol

  42. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:28 pm:

    Is “because people already do it” sounds like a cry for legalization. I`m all in. (the pot)

  43. - Wally - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:30 pm:

    Uh, Formally Known As, online poker is being played in NJ and Nevada now and is being played or about to be played in Delaware. The 2006 law doesn’t come into play. Plus, it has been determined that poker is a game of skill, not gambling.

  44. - LisleMike - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:31 pm:

    I voted no.
    I’ll get ripped, but my reasons are personal.
    Have we really no shame? Will we (as a state) approve ANYTHING to get $$? Is legalized prostitution next? If the idea is that we can’t protect each other from our vices, why not open it up entirely? (It is logic that follows) How about cock fighting or dog fighting? That has a following. Why not capitalize on that? Shame on us. Regardless of the need, there has to be a better way. To pay for the sins of the past, we should not put forward such ideas.
    Sorry, my feelings and needed to say them.

  45. - BigH - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:33 pm:

    Let’s legalize, regulate and tax. Illinois would
    profit from willing poker players. We might join
    forces with other states like NJ, NV to enlarge
    the poker base for tournaments, etc.

  46. - Nick - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:38 pm:

    Voted Yes.
    Only interested in poker myself, but if others are entertained by watching flashy wheels spins, good for them.
    Illinois is already allowing real money gambling transactions online via

  47. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:42 pm:

    Only if they are going to do something for the Horse Racing industry here in Illinois.

  48. - Roamin' Numeral - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:48 pm:

    You can bet on the lottery and horse races online, so why not poker?

  49. - larry koshiol - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:53 pm:

    regulation does more than just make money that Ill sorely needs, but it also can protect the players. you can go to online poker FOR MONEY, right now,. I have, but you can get burned if you aren’t careful, that wont happen with regulation. I say this…IT AIN’T NO CRIME, IF IT’S MY TIME, AND MY DIME.. LETS DO THIS………….

  50. - Ray - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 2:56 pm:

    I vote Yes ..Mainly for poker…Poker takes skill to play it’s not gambling like a slot machine….Let the state get the taxes on any wins that deserve to be taxed….

  51. - Ruby - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 3:04 pm:

    Online gambling is targeting those who spend the most time online, especially young people who are in their twenties and others who don’t find casinos very appealing.

    The gambling industry knows that people are more likely to become addicted to gambling when they live near a legal gambling location. If that legalized gambling location is our home computer, there will be more gambling addiction, with our young people as a prime target.

  52. - Marty - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 3:05 pm:

    Yes. Dedicate tax revenue to pensions.

  53. - Scott - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 3:13 pm:

    Voted yes.

    I don’t pay taxes every year to have the government dictate to me what I can do with my own money, in my own home, on my computer. Online poker is a game of skill played between consenting adults. Our friends in the UK have had legal online gambling for over a decade, and their rate of problem gambling has actually declined slightly, according to scientific studies. And for the curious, the total rate in the overall population is estimated to be about 1%. I suspect that a far higher percentage of the population has a problem with online shopping on credit cards, which has a far-reaching impact on the economy. Shall we go ahead and ban that too?

    What exists now is a misguided prohibition, largely based on unfounded fear, and no more effective than was the prohibition of alcohol. Is anyone voting to bring that back?

  54. - Under Further Review - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 3:14 pm:

    Great! We can use the poker revenue to subsidize the horse racing industry because all forms of gaming always produce income for the state without fail.

  55. - zenking - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 3:21 pm:

    To play on-line poker in the privacy of my own home is a joy and get away from the stresses of every day life. I’m an adult in a free country.

  56. - Buster - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 3:21 pm:

    Yes! Maybe I can win enough to move out of Illinois.

  57. - Fred - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 3:24 pm:

    I am not a poker player myself, and I don’t care to play it. But if it provides entertainment for some, and revenue for our state, why not? I believe people are responsible. And if they are not, giving them the freedom of choice, will teach them to be responsible. Legalize it… no reason not to.

  58. - Bob - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 3:26 pm:

    Adult voters should be heeded by the elected officials representing them.

  59. - ejhickey - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 3:29 pm:

    “the state could expect a 9-figure windfall in additional revenues if pro-gambling legislation was passed.”

    every little bit counts but shouldn’t the focus be on things that generate a 10-figure windfall like taxing retirement income?

  60. - Mark - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 3:30 pm:

    I would like to play poker online, in the comfort of my own home. I would happily pay my taxes to the state for this opportunity.

  61. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 3:35 pm:

    Sure.Why not? D**n Tootin. YES.

  62. - Mokenavince - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 3:36 pm:

    It sounds like a great idea to me. Yes.

  63. - FormerParatrooper - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 3:45 pm:

    I voted yes only because Illinois needs revenue. I would expect the State to figure out a realistic budget, and we know that won’t happen. Lottery and online gambling are only voluntary tax payments.

  64. - Lunchbox - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 3:47 pm:

    I support it because the state might as well get the tax revenue on what is already occurring in Illinois.

  65. - Pete - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 3:54 pm:

    Yes!! Online poker should be regulated and taxed. This is a tax that targets willing participants in a game of skill. Regulation will cost the state nothing and add much needed revenue.

  66. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 3:59 pm:

    will there be at least a real dealer?it would provide employment.

  67. - Andrew - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 4:00 pm:

    Yes! As a responsible poker player, I should be able to play in the comfort of my home instead of having to drive to Indiana to play a slower and more expensive version of the same game of skill. The current online poker industry has shown to be highly effective at ensuring the games are fair, all safeguards are in place, and revenue will be generated!

  68. - John - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 4:00 pm:

    Legalize, regulate, and tax! That I far superior than tryin to suppress the people. Allow the people to be free to do what they like in their own home.

  69. - Caer58 - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 4:02 pm:

    Yes, This will create a great new source of revenue for our state

  70. - Chris D - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 4:07 pm:

    Spot on Scott and zenking! I don’t live in Illinois but would come to visit should the games being offered fit my needs. The idea of shared liquidity with a state like NJ would result in an abundance of good cash games and tournaments. There is no doubt that poker is a game of skill. I can respect the opinion of those voting no but I do see many that aren’t aware of certain facts. Online gambling is alive right now and available to most people in the US. I do see that more problem gamblers could be developed who aren’t already playing on illegal sites. This will come from marketing efforts. On the other side of the coin, people have to be responsible for their actions. How I spend my money or earn profit from other players is nobody’s business except mine. We are behind the rest of the world on this revenue stream. It is offered by unregulated online casinos that are based off-shore. They are making money from our country and the citizens of Illinois today. It is time for sensible legislation that will generate revenue, jobs and protect our people from criminal activity.

  71. - Lyndon - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 4:08 pm:

    I am not a citizen of Illinois but I’m a resident of the state of NJ one of the three states in which internet gambling is legalized and regulated. It has take so long after 2011 to finally have legalized online gambling here in the US under strict regulation. That is what NJ has accomplished. They were able to regulate internet gaming with the their own borders, track every dollar transaction moved in and out, and keep track of who is logging on the sites. I think Illinois can fairly accomplish this task easily. Illinois needs the money and I think they should establish fair market within the state which companies will be able to compete with each other fairly. Like NJ, Illinois can use geolocation to ensure people who live very close to Illinois borders are ensuring that those people are located in the state. If a state like NJ can prove regulating internet gaming can be done, then Illinois is no exception.

  72. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 4:12 pm:

    Plus, according to a poll conducted last month, only 32% of New Jersey residents support gambling over the Internet.

    Just because a state does something, does not mean it is popular among voters. It simply means they had the votes to push it through.

    Let’s poll this issue in Illinois and see what voters think. Then, “let the will of the people be the law of the land” and legislators may vote accordingly with election day coming up.

  73. - the_closer3 - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 4:13 pm:

    This is a no brainer

  74. - the_closer3 - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 4:13 pm:


  75. - Barkmaster - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 4:18 pm:

    It’s not the governments business how I spend my money. The state of IL is bankrupt and they need the money. Not all the people that play on-line goes to casinos so this is a new revenue stream.

  76. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 4:22 pm:

    Do any of you self-proclaimed out-of-staters have a financial interest in legalizing on-line poker or do you just come here for the caption contests?

  77. - Sunshine - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 4:23 pm:


    How about we develop new industry and create jobs to generate revenue for our state. Why are we so focused on vice money avenues, those that destroy lives, rather than original ideas of developing new businesses that build our state’s economy?

    Another “free money” idea that will do nothing long term to benefit Illinois. Just a bad idea!

  78. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 4:36 pm:

    === - Bob - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 3:26 pm:

    Adult voters should be heeded by the elected officials representing them ===

    A naive view unless the voters in any district are monolithic. Is there a single issue district in the history of the world where all the voters spoke as one person? If 53% of the voters in a district approve gambling, then wouldn’t you have 47% really ticked off if you voted to approve? How, then, does the elected official heed them? Just askin…..

  79. - billiken123 - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 4:41 pm:

    Legalize it…tax it. If you want to gamble online you will…people in Illinois are doing it as I type this. Why should some unregulated offshore site take our money? Makes no sense and there is no argument that can justify it!

  80. - Bill Schilling - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 4:45 pm:

    There’s nothing like online poker.
    I love to play, it’s a great hobby.
    Why shouldn’t I be able to play?
    I don’t understand why we need to beg politicians to allow us to play.

  81. - Poker Player - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 4:47 pm:

    As a poker plater myself, I couldn’t agree more with making online poker legal in the state of IL. There are a lot of good points made in the comments. Our economic crisis is one of the states major issues that we’re having, amassing this sortof debt without thinking outside the box and raising taxes over and over again will just end up with a tail that is chased. Instead, let’s go forward like NJ/NV has and brig the money in. For those who said that online poker doesn’t create jobs; well, the internet and electricity isn’t free, nor does it run on its own. Also, there’s a lot more to poker than what people see on tv and read about. Please look at all the aspects of online poker before making a decision. Hundreds of thousands of people made a career out of poker, and when Black Friday came, they lost more than just their livelihoods. Gambling is everywhere, poker isn’t, but if we can legalize, regulate, and tax it, I think it can be a windfall on all sides.

    This is just one voice.

    Thank you.

    Thank you.

  82. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 4:50 pm:

    If the state is in the lotto business on line, which is a fool’s game, how can you argue against poker.

  83. - Ron Denson - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 4:56 pm:

    I voted to approve internet gambling, if I had a choice I would be more specific to internet poker.
    This is one reason why the established casino interests should be interested in approving internet gambling: Regulated Internet Poker will create jobs, new tax revenues and marketing opportunities for B&M Casinos.
    Here’s an example of how Internet Poker can work with effective marketing.
    Here is a recent example, this link ( ) is to the Indiana-Majestic Star Casino Recap August 2013. I believe one of the reasons for this huge increase in participation (121%) was due to While providing free internet poker may or may not have been a viable advertising investment for Chicagoland Hooters, I think having this running leading up to this event played a key factor. There were many players that qualified online to play in live satellites or actual events at the Majestic Star casino.
    Most poker players are not looking for free, we are looking for micro/low stake satellite tournaments to play our way to the larger buy in tournaments. Many players enjoy internet poker as entertainment because it is fun and challenging.
    This can be done most effectively via regulation of internet poker. I think this is an excellent example of how internet poker can be utilized as a marketing tool.
    Three states have already done the leg work and are operational, a mutual player liquidity agreement has been signed between Nevada & Delaware.
    Every casino does not need to their own original software. Many will be able to take advantage of using a “skin”. I would think it appropriate to offer all existing B&M Casino’s the opportunity to participate either as a host license at a reasonable fee or skin license for a lesser fee. New companies would certainly be welcome to apply for licensing through your already established gaming commission.
    This will allow the all existing B&M Casinos the opportunity to take advantage of this exciting industry.
    Does one company deserve to have all of the business? No, this is a free market. The companies that provide the most value to their customers will be the ones that make the cut.
    The citizens of Illinois will also be winners as much needed tax revenues will be generated.
    My prediction: Internet poker will be win-win for everyone.

  84. - Rod - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 5:00 pm:

    It’s already legal. But I think you’re talking US poker sites in Illinois played by Illinois residents. Of course that should happen…people must make their own decision to play online not have the government do it for them. That’s Big Government and you don’t want that right? Big Government making your choices creates a moral (as opposed to economic) welfare state because people aren’t making their own moral choices.

  85. - Mr. Fungi - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 5:13 pm:

    There are many arguments for both but for me it is a simple freedom of choice issue. If I choose to play poker online why can’t I. I can’t because some politician said so. This is not a issue of causing physical danger or harm to others. We are not raising the speed limit to 100 or selling dangerous drugs over the counter. It is nothing more than my choice to spend my money playing poker. Now I take my money to Nevada and Indiana and those states enjoy my revenue. Why shouldn’t the state I live in have the same advantage?

  86. - Blkjack21 - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 5:19 pm:

    I being a regular online poker player, it is obvious that I would vote “yes”. After the 2 years of not having a choice on how I get to play play has reduced dramatically. I feel that in that timeframe I am at a disadvantage over foreign players that I encounter in both cash games and tournaments - simply because it is easier for them to witness pokers continual evolution of how situations/hands are played. I doubt that I am a minority for the fact that I used online play to sharpen my llive game. If a state can benefit by taxing my choice to play online, we’ll then I am 100% behind that. Also 1 final point by having states involved in online poker, less likely players would encounter the corruption we experienced with FTP, UB, etc…

  87. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 5:32 pm:

    I want government to run my life. I’m not smart enough to think for myself.
    I’ll just keep playing the stock market and buying lottery tickets online.

  88. - Royale Jack - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 5:37 pm:

    This is a game that consists of a lot of skill rather than just pure luck. Many people enjoy this game and some even use it to support their income. Illinois could use the money and it would give poker players the freedom they deserve!

  89. - Nate - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 5:44 pm:

    What do we mean by gambling anyway? Online slot machines are probably a bad idea because they’re a money pit. But games like poker should NOT be illegal. A federal court in NY ruled that poker is not gambling because it is a game of skill. If adults want to play each other at a game of skill using their own money, I don’t believe the government has a legitimate interest in prohibiting it.

  90. - jtravels24 - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 5:46 pm:

    Do It!

  91. - coinflip711 - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 6:00 pm:

    Online poker is very different than online gambling. Most Illinois casinos (like the rivers) don’t even offer poker. And the other casinos that do offer poker only have a few tables dedicated to the game. So they would not have to fear losing any revenue. Online poker can be tracked way better than live. Making it easier to prevent problem gamblers. Please make online poker legal!

  92. - Jeremy Enke - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 6:07 pm:

    I find it somewhat comical when people say we need to “keep online gambling out of Illinois”. News flash, it’s already in Illinois and happening every day. Just at unregulated offshore. Whether you like it or not, online gambling on poker, casino, and sports happens every day in Illinois.

    By regulating online gambling like the states of New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada have done, they are ensuring that those who wish to gamble online can do so in a safe fashion. Likewise these states also collect tax revenue that otherwise would be finding it’s way to places like Costa Rica and Antigua.

    Further to that, Illinois is the most hypocritical state in the country. You can barely walk into any restaurant, bar, or social club without seeing a line of slot machines. And, add on top of this that our state requires anyone with slot machines to serve alcohol…..

    But if I want to stay in on a Saturday night and play a few $5 online poker tournaments after the kiddos are in bed, I should be protected by the State of Illinois because this is going to destroy my life?

    And to the people that say online gambling doesn’t create jobs, take a trip to Atlantic City and see how many new jobs are available in the state because of this newly regulated market.

  93. - downstate commissioner - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 6:39 pm:

    yes $$$$$$

  94. - deacon57 - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 6:42 pm:

    It’s whats happening all across the country and does IL. want to be out in the cold ,looking in on the states that have it??

  95. - Emily Booth - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 6:50 pm:

    With internet poker, who’s the house? Where does the Mafia fit in?

  96. - Wads - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 6:53 pm:

    Most definitely YES!! Something like this should be available for those who want it in this free country!! Those who are against it should simply not play and it’s up to the individual to play with what they can afford responsibly, just bc some might abuse it is not a good reason to not have it.

  97. - gjschiff - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 6:53 pm:

    Regulation of online poker is a positive step forward. As some mentioned, online gaming has been available for over a decade, but on off-shore, unregulated sites. Revenue is currently pouring off-shore.

    To those who are unsure of whether this can be safely done, this industry has been safely regulated in most free countries world-wide for 10+ years. Studies done during this time, especially in the UK and Scotland indicated that even with heavy advertising and increased access, the percentage of problem gamblers remained the same as prior to regulation at .6% of the population. This revealed no increase in problem gambling and that 99.6% of the population is able to gamble in a responsible manner.

    With online poker, there is more accountability than in a brick and mortar casino. Regulation requires strict player identification and sites monitor every action a player makes from the time they log on until they log off.

    It’s best to regulate it, tax it, and allow free Americans the choice whether to play or not.

  98. - Iamclp - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 7:06 pm:

    Commerce and capitalism is a basic right… Gambling and poker is commerce and capitalism we have the right to pursue it!

  99. - DavyAces - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 7:08 pm:

    No question Internet poker should be legal, in fact, the bigger question is when, not why. Poker can sharpen an individuals mind in a way that most games cannot. Yes the variable always exist that random anomalies may prevail. This is the same for everyday life- Let people make their own choices, this is America!

  100. - ppanda - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 7:08 pm:

    ==It is not sustainable, it prohibits real economic growth, and it hits low income folks the hardest.==

    That’s exactly right.

  101. - Jim - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 7:16 pm:

    well people have been playing this game for over 200 years and why not on line now? Just because some maybe “poor”or rich they have that right to play. So IL will help itself if it passes some law that allows on line poker.

  102. - rwt - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 7:18 pm:

    The case that some people above are referring to was U.S. v. DiCristina, where the Eastern District of NY initially ruled poker didn’t constitute “gambling” under the Illegal Gambling Business Act. The judge said that ambiguities in the statute (regarding whether poker should be included in the banned businesses) should be resolved in favor of defendant, and so poker was excepted. The Second Circuit reversed, and cert was denied just last week.

    So up to this point, poker is still a mess: it’s illegal in states that say wagers in games of chance are illegal, and apparently under the federal IGBA statute, but even that still isn’t totally clear. Obviously in IL, it’s illegal since even games of chance that take wagers are specifically banned (720 ILCS 5/28-1). Cullerton’s bill is the only way that’s going to get changed in the near future.

    I’m not sold on allowing every gambling game online, but online poker is certainly not a threat to jobs and morality here in IL. This has been happening for over a decade now. This isn’t an issue of risk, like legalising marijuana might be. Let me decide for myself whether I want to play poker or not, and tax what I make.

  103. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 7:32 pm:

    === estimated Illinois would make nearly $200 million a year if it licensed, regulated, and taxed online poker sites ===

    Is that anything like the estimates of $300+ million in revenue from video poker?

    The same video poker that generated only $30 million in taxes for the state and $6 million in local taxes during 2013?

    The same video poker that we still do not have straightened out and running smoothly, despite the single-subject lawsuit and it being over 4 years since the bill was passed and signed by the governor in 2009?

    History demonstrates that such revenue estimates cannot be regarded as accurate or honest.

  104. - Just The Way It Is One - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 7:33 pm:

    Well, if we can have LAND-based Casinos to go to, and the door has already been opened as to its’ legality in only a handful of other States, with tight/tough ethical regulations and oversight, sure, why not. God (and Pat Quinn) knows–we need the DOUGH…bad!

  105. - the bull - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 7:51 pm:

    No one should be able to tell me what to do with my money if I choose to play poker. It is a game of skill and not chance. The state of Il can sure use the added revenue.

  106. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 8:10 pm:

    Again, I’d like to welcome all of the new commenters who have joined us today. Nice to have you here. Don’t forget to tip your waitress.

  107. - ajm1954 - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 8:10 pm:

    I voted yes, I am sick and tired of our out of control government telling me where and how I spend my hard earned money. I play every night online and on a bad night I might lose $10 on

  108. - JP - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 8:39 pm:

    I play legally on-line now and the state doesn’t get a nickel. 5% of each pot I win gets raked to the overseas-operated poker site I play on. I don’t know how much of that they’re paying in tax to anyone, but it sure isn’t going to the state of Illinois. Even if the rake was slightly higher, I’d happily play on a state-sanctioned site.

  109. - Wally - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 8:42 pm:

    Problem gamblers play slots, craps, roulette and the lottery. Very, very few problem gamblers play poker, it is too difficult and requires a lot of skill. Throwing a $100 bill in a slot machine, not so much.

  110. - legalizepokernow - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 8:48 pm:

    I just got done playing a 10 hr session, and yup i’m in Illinois. And yep, the govt will get $0 from my session (losing session i pay my taxes). Pretty sure this vote is for online poker, not slots etc?

  111. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 9:20 pm:

    wwrd (what wood rauner do)

  112. - tabasc99 - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 9:36 pm:

    I just can’t understand why people think online poker is a “gamble”. My mother plays duplicate bridge 4 times a week and the fees that she pays to play has cost her a lot more than I have ever lost on a bad run playing poker online. Both games are games of skill that she gets ‘master’ points, while I manage to make a few dollars profit. Lets admit that poker is just a game that rewards its better players and let our state benifit from the revenue.

  113. - rogue83 - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 10:20 pm:

    Nobody, and that includes those who work in government should have the right to tell u how and what u can spend your money on. If u want to control addiction and make sure children don’t play there are better ways such as deposit limits, daily loss limits and secure log ins to make sure underage children don’t play. But making it illegal and taking away the freedom to play and spend your money the way you wish is totally un-American. Lets not forget this is supposed to be a free country, but when governments take away freedoms in the interest of protecting a problem few they slowly take away our freedoms that so many have fought and sacrificed so much for.

  114. - PokerWife39 - Wednesday, Mar 5, 14 @ 10:57 pm:

    Illinois needs online poker desperately. It would be a NEW industry with skilled jobs to provide NEW revenue. As a retired IL teacher, I would love the new revenue be used to fund our pensions. Also my hubby is a good poker player and could be making extra money for our family. Illinois would also benefit from him paying taxes on his new winnings. It’s individual freedom to play a card game that 10 million Americans enjoy, playing with our hard-earned, already-taxed income in our free time from the comfort of our homes in the Land of the Free.

  115. - Mike Bandy - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 1:59 am:

    I voted yes. Online poker can add to revenue without increasing taxes.

  116. - Dave87123 - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 3:23 am:

    I voted yes because I believe in freedom.

  117. - NZSQUARED - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 7:44 am:

    It is high time the politicians realize that the United States of America will reap HUGE benefits with the legalization/regulation of online poker. WHY should we continue to be behind the “8″ ball on this? Their archaic thinking only cripples a stream of money for the taking.

  118. - Lowtide - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 11:52 am:

    I think that is an easy “yes” poker is a game of skill and not gambling. It will be an easy source of income for gov.

  119. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 1:41 pm:

    Yes. Poker is a game of skill. And should be legal

  120. - Darren Inderlied - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 4:43 pm:

    A few years back I decided to check out the game of poker. I deposited $50 into an online poker site and started playing $1 to $3 tournaments. I enjoyed the idea of playing against other players instead of a game against the house. The card room down the road from where I live has a poker tournament on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s that has a cost of $55 and is structured nowhere near as well as what I was able to find online. I decided that online poker was the way to go for a beginner because of the inexpensive price point.

    I ended up winning some and losing some and had to redeposit a few times before I started to win more consistently. Along the way I even decided to quit a 20 year addiction to cigarettes largely because I was able to justify the price of a pack of cigarettes a day to fund my micro stakes online play. Let me emphasize that again. I QUIT SMOKING BECAUSE I ENJOYED THE GAME OF POKER MORE!

    I understand that some in our society have addiction issues but their protection should not come at the expense of those that do not.

  121. - skinner - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 11:14 pm:

    Sorry but I vote no. The state definitely needs the money, but can’t seem make it work with any amount of money generated. Lets see if the new gambling law works before jumping into something that may or may not work. I believe there are plenty of gambling opportunities available.

  122. - betorgo - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 6:34 am:

    If you allow me to carry a gun, then allow me to
    shoot myself in the foot if I “choose” to play poker….at worst, I only will be hurting myself.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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