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Illinois to Focus on Casinos Before Discussing Online Gaming

Illinois lawmakers are considering expanding the state’s gambling industry. Senate President John Cullerton has been actively working to legalize online gambling, but his plans will need to be delayed for the time being. Cullerton said that lawmakers will need to focus on the state’s land based gambling industry before considering an online gaming bill.

Cullerton recently discussed plans for the state budget. He said that Illinois will definitely take up the issue of online poker in the future. However, he said that lawmakers need to decide whether or not to approve two proposals for new casinos.

The industry is lobbying to legalize online gambling, but expanding the land-based casino industry is a greater priority to them as well. Revenues have fallen over 50% from their peak in 2005. Illinois casinos hope that constructing new casinos would help boost revenues within a couple of years.

Lawmakers may have a difficult time deciding whether or not to expand the state’s gaming industry. Many citizens are vehemently opposed to any form of gambling. However, the state’s gaming industry is lobbying to expand the market to maintain profitability. The Senate will need to weigh the interests of all stakeholders to find a solution.

The Senate will also need to consider the fiscal benefits of expanding both land-based and Internet gambling. The state’s pension program is seriously underfunded. Cullerton referenced a report showing that legalizing online gambling would help the state generate an estimated $150 million. He has been struggling to convince Governor Pat Quinn to support an online poker bill. The new revenue projections could encourage Quinn to sign a future bill.

This blog entry was posted on Thursday, April 24th, 2014 at 11:14 pm and is filed under Casino News.

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