Illinois could be Next US State to legalize Online Gambling

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Just a few weeks ago, New Jersey became the third American state to legalize online gambling. Now Illinois is close to becoming the fourth US state to do so after an Illinois Senate committee approved a revised gambling bill. Senate Bill 1739 contains legislation that seeks to expand the state's number of land-based casinos and allow online gambling.

Senator Terry Link, who's sponsoring the bill, believes that internet gaming alone could generate $150 million in annual tax revenue. His legislation also calls for the number of Illinois brick and mortar casinos to increase from 10 to 23; Link expects this to bring another $400 million to $1 billion.

One disheartening feature of the bill is that it contains a "bad actor" clause. The bad actor clause discusses how online casinos and poker sites that have "illegally" accepted wagers over the past 10 years won't be permitted into the Illinois internet gaming scene. This being said, some of the bigger companies such as PokerStars, party.bwin and Bodog won't be allowed into Illinois' gaming market.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will have the final say on whether or not the online gambling bill passes. He's turned down a few internet gaming proposals in the past; however, Quinn has softened his stance on the matter and is reportedly very interested in how online betting could help solve the state's $100 billion in pension debt.

Assuming the Prairie State ultimately allows online gambling, they'll join Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey as the only US states offering internet gambling. Nevada recently approved intrastate online betting, which means that Governor Brian Sandoval can negotiate pacts with other states. If Illinois were to partner up with Nevada and other states, their potential gaming revenue figures to increase exponentially.