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Illinois Residents Can Now Play the Ponies from Home

10/13/09 - The Chicagoist - View Source

By Prescott Carlson

Why head down to the local bar for some video poker or go amongst the unwashed masses at an OTB when you can empty out your bank account sitting in your underwear at home? Because now you can, since the Illinois Racing Board has voted and unanimously approved three companies to accept online horse racing bets from Illinois residents. Betting can be made from any internet ready device including smartphones.

The measure was sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton, who's been championing the "benefits" of online gambling for a while now. Back in February, Cullerton had proposed the online sale of lottery tickets. While that never went anywhere, this current gambling measure sailed right through.

Each betting transaction will be taxed 1.75%, and is expected to raise at least $1.7 million in revenue in Illinois after the state takes its cut -- the rest of the tax will be doled out to Illinois race tracks. Online horse race betting is expected to go live almost immediately, as each of the companies already have the system in place. There was no word on which legislators' nephew/brother/cousin/friend owns each of the three companies chosen.

Protecting Children
Compulsive Gambling Safeguards
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New Government Revenues
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