Opening up Internet betting will initially bring in $2 million say Racing Board experts

Illinois is about to become the latest US state to exploit the legislative carve-outs that allow online betting on horse racing, fantasy sports and state lotteries while the federal government is doing everything it can to curtail competing Internet gambling in every other sector.

The Senate in US President Obama's home state is looking at allowing betting on horse races on the internet or over the phone, according to Newsroom Solutions. The drive comes after the Senate Gaming Committee unanimously approved a plan that will allow bets by phone, online or at new kiosks at racetracks or off-track betting sites.

Illinois Racing's Marc Laino says the plan could initially make $2 million for the state, which is currently wresting with a $9 billion budget deficit. Lainmo said that any venture onto the Internet would include security measures on websites and kiosks to prevent underage gambling.

Senator Ricky Hendon pointed out that many residents in Illinois bet online legally 'and illegally' on horses, sports and poker, and said that if online gambling is already going on, the state should get tax revenue from it.

However, opposition to the plan is already beginning to manifest itself, with Anita Bedell of the Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems organisation claiming that online gambling will lead to more people losing money, because people won't have to leave their homes to place bets.

Bedell said that the state should instead raise money by taxing racetracks, not a popular concept with the racing industry.

Senate President John Cullerton is looking to exploit the Internet carve-outs in another sector - he wants to legalise the purchase of Illinois lottery tickets through the Internet (see previous InfoPowa report) but has hopefully been reading up on the negative impact the imprecise UIGEA has had on New Hampshire and North Dakota online lottery deposits!

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