Wednesday March 27,2013 : ILLINOIS GOVERNOR NOT ENTHUSIASTIC ON INTERNET GAMBLING (Update)
Quinn has reservations about adding online gambling to land casino proposals
The legalization of online gambling in Illinois is not a prospect that Governor Pat Quinn regards with enthusiasm
The governor was asked for his reaction to a late proposal suggested by state Senator Terry Link in a land casino bill that Internet gambling be added, making provision for Illinois land casino or track owners to operate gambling websites in addition to traditional operations, with the new tax revenues this would generate going toward paying down Illinois's massive pension debt.
Gov. Quinn commented: “I think that’s problematic. It’s a brand new idea and there hasn’t been much review on that at all. Anytime you have something brand new it shouldn’t just be thrown into a bill at the last minute.”
Whilst the governor may oppose the idea, state Senate President John Cullerton is on record as saying that Illinois could prosper from being a hub for online gambling.
Sen. Cullerton took a run at the issue himself some months ago, but was unsuccessful, despite the fact that Illinois was the first state to permit buying lottery tickets online, and a program to let bettors pick horses on the Web expired in January this year.
Legislators are scheduled to be in session all through this May, so there is time to thoroughly debate the issue.
Under Sen. Link's proposal, only Illinoisans over 21 years old would be allowed to play on Illinois online gambling websites, and an online gambling licence would cost a casino owner $20 million up front.
The games offered mostly would be well-known casino games like poker or roulette. Supporters argue that people already play online, so the state should regulate the games and get tax revenues.
"This [Internet gambling] is already going on," said Illinois Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones last year. "It's not like we're inventing anything."