Thursday February 27,2014 : POKER CHIEF SPEAKS AGAINST BANNING IN ILLINOIS (Update)
Pappas says regulated and taxed e-gaming would be good for revenues and deliver better consumer protection.
John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Association action group, addressed the Illinois Senate Executive Committee of the Illinois State Assembly Wednesday, giving an expert opinion on why bans benefit criminal elements..
The Quad City Times reports that Pappas pointed out that Illinois could reap nearly $200 million annually if it becomes the fourth state to legalise online poker.
The PPA exec said that legalization would not only bring more money to the state, but would result in tighter regulations for a practice that is already widely supported in the state.
"Prohibition will only play into the hands of the criminal element," Pappas said.
During the hearing, pro-online gambling state Senator John Cullerton said he hoped some kind of gambling expansion package could be put together before the end of the spring legislative session.
The Democrat from Chicago has been prodding his colleagues to move on the issue for nearly two years.
Based on his past experience in trying to get online poker legalization bills through the state legislature, Cullerton said legalization could again be a tough sell because of opposition from land casino owners and horse track operators.
"There's a lot of complications about how it affects the existing gaming industry," he told reporters following the hearing. "That seems to be where the hang up might be right now."
But with the state's temporary income tax expiring in the middle of the next fiscal year, Cullerton said the revenue generated by online poker could help fill an expected $1.5 billion gap.
"The other states that are just getting started are bringing in some money, so that might play a role in it when we try to pass a budget," Cullerton said.