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Will Illinois go for online horserace betting?

Discussion in 'Casino Industry Discussion' started by jetset, Sep 27, 2007.

    Sep 27, 2007
  1. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service

    Another US state looks at the tax potential of online gambling carve-outs for horse racing

    Reports from Springfield, Illinois indicate that political momentum may be building to take advantage of one of the great inequalities in American online gambling - the legislative carve-outs created for betting on horse races, lotteries and fantasy sports.

    Apparently the Illinois gambling industry is in favour of introducing state horse race betting over the Internet on grounds that it is already being exploited in other states and has the potential to generate substantial tax revenues.

    "Internet gaming is here," Marc Laino, executive director of the Illinois Racing Board, told a reporter from the Springfield bureau of the St Louis Despatch. "Trying to stop it in Illinois will only limit the potential revenue for the state."

    Whether the momentum builds sufficiently to bring about this expansion in gambling opportunities in the state could be determined in the next few weeks, as the Illinois House decides whether to pass a gambling expansion bill that the Senate approved last week. It would add three new land casinos to the nine currently operating in Illinois, and allow the current ones to expand, to raise money for state construction projects.

    The St. Louis Despatch report draws attention to a small section tucked inside the 267-page Illinois bill HB2035 that allows for "advance deposit wagering" by Illinois horse tracks through third-party licensees.

    The word "Internet" isn't mentioned, but both sides of the gaming debate say the effect of the section is clear: It would allow Fairmount Park and other Illinois tracks to enter into agreements with Internet gambling sites, which would then act as electronic off-track betting parlors for the tracks.

    By some estimates, the Illinois's horse racing industry is losing $50 million to $100 million a year to other states' Internet betting systems. "It's in play in most of the country," said Laino. "We're one of the few racing jurisdictions that haven't authorized it. We're losing out."
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