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Illinois Gaming Bill Up For Debate

The legislature in the US state of Illinois is set to debate the legislation of most forms of online gaming – of which poker is included – after a State Senator circulated proposals for his bill.

A new bill dedicated solely to online gaming was created after it was originally part of a broader gaming expansion bill before online gaming aspects were removed from it in April. The current bill being put forward by Senator John Cullerton would not permit online sports betting to take place but would allow other forms of gaming over the internet.

A licence fee of US$20 million would be charged to online gaming services wishing to operate in the state, with taxes on gaming revenue set to be between 7.5 per cent and 20 per cent. The bill would also lead to the creation of a Division of Online Gaming, which would help regulate the market along with the already established Illinois Lottery.

A measure to block online gaming companies which had illegally accepted bets from US players in the last decade was originally included in the bill. This has been removed from the bill, however, and only persons and companies convicted of illegally accepting bets would be banned from obtaining an Illinois licence.

The upcoming debate on the Illinois online gaming bill is the latest of a series of legislative events relating to poker in the US. Recently, Governments in the states of New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada have all passed legislation to permit online poker and online gaming in general. A bill in Pennsylvania to legalise online poker is set to be viewed by a state Government committee in the future.

While at present, the Illinois bill has many legislative hurdles to go through, the trend towards legislating online poker means that there is certainly a realistic chance it may pass. A date for the bill’s debate has not yet been confirmed. However, it is widely believed that State Senator Cullerton will attempt to give the bill its first committee hearing later this week.  

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