While a number of states in the US like Nevada and New Jersey are pushing hard to fast track the online gambling legal formalities, Illinois will not adopt the same approach. The Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois made it clear that online gambling has to take a back-seat to pension reform in Illinois, clearly disappointing all gambling fans in Illinois, as they were expecting to soon be able to play online poker legally from the comfort of their homes.
The governor made it clear that while legalizing online poker and other online gambling activities in Illinois was being considered, it would not get primary importance as that was being given to pension reform. In a statement, Quinn told reporters that
will never, ever sign a gaming expansion absent comprehensive pension reform
The pension reform is a long standing problem in Illinois, because it currently has a massive deficit of nearly $100 billion. Hence, the issue of pension reform has not really been addressed directly by past administration teams. Many believe that this is one of the main reasons why Quinn wants pension reform to be addressed as a priority.
Since the push to legalize online gambling in the United States is gaining momentum, a number of states are fast tracking the process, mainly because the revenue generated by online gambling in the state is a massive influx of finances. The logic behind Quinns thinking is most probably that a delay in legalizing online gambling in Illinois will cause law makers to address the pension reform issue on a fast track basis.
In the recent past, Illinois was looking to increase online gambling and online poker by increasing the number of brick-and-mortar casinos. However, now that online gambling is expanding quickly, Illinois will have to address this issue separately.
While Illinois has a stiff competition when it comes to live gambling and brick and mortar casinos in neighbouring places like Wisconsin and Indiana, Illinois has very little competition when it comes to online gambling. State Senate President John Cullerton recently sent forth a draft bill on the proposed online legislation for online gambling. The legislation pushes for the legalization of online gambling and also pushes for a number of new online gambling games to be legalized. In a few weeks time, Illinois will know if the bill has been approved and if online gambling will indeed be a part of Illinois.