* From an article posted on LegalUSPokerSites.com…
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.
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