10/14/09 – The notorious legislative carve-outs for US online horseracing have made possible another gambling tax bonanza, this time for the state of Illinois.
Online gamblers with a penchant to play the ponies can now do so after the Illinois Racing Board gave permission to three companies to host online horse betting this week, reports the Chicago Tribune.
The decision means gamblers can place bets on horses through approved Web sites or by phone, interactive television or mobile devices. Previously, wagers could only be placed at a track or at an off-track betting parlour.
All three companies approved by the Board already have systems set up to handle Internet betting in other states, and implementation of the online services is therefore expected to be fast.
Racing board officials said they hope the changes will make it easier for people to place bets, while also attracting a younger, Web-savvy clientele. Gamblers must register with a company online before they will be allowed to place bets.
While state law allows 18-year-olds to gamble, two of the companies offering online betting require participants to be at least 21. Each transaction will be taxed 1.75 percent, which the board estimates could generate an extra $1 million a year for state coffers. Remaining profits will be split among tracks and purses for horsemen.
The legalization was pushed through by Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat who had long wanted to legalise online betting.
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