In March, the Illinois lottery became the first state in the US to offer intrastate gambling when they began offering lottery services online. Now it appears that the state is ready to take the next step and offer other forms of gaming online, including online poker.
According to Cardplayer.com, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton outlined the state’s plans in a letter to Governor Pat Quinn. The plan is to offer online gaming outside of lottery services and proposed the formation of a Division of Internet Gaming that would be a part of the Illinois Lottery.
On Tuesday, an amendment to House Bill 4148 outlined the powers that the DIG would hold which included their ability to choose which internet games would be offered. Estimates for new revenues produced by the expansion of gaming could be in the hundreds of Millions and Cullerton hyped the expansion as a way for the state to “position itself as a ‘hub’ for multi-state and international iGaming.”
As part of the amendment submitted, the state will keep a “Voluntary Exclusion” list for those wishing to exclude themselves from playing online. Also, the state will assemble a “Responsible Internet Gaming Advisory Board” that will make recommendations to the Executive Director of the Division of Internet Gaming in regards to developing rules and procedures to help to stop problem gambling. They may even be granted powers to help enact these procedures.
Considering how quickly the state acted in regards to putting the lottery online, it is expected that this bill will receive swift attention. There is even a suggestion that the bill may be heard in the Senate Executive Committee this week. If this passes, Illinois could potentially leapfrog Nevada in being the first to go live with their online gaming in the US. We will keep you informed on this story as news develops.