The online poker scene is a bit up and down throughout the different states in the US. While some completely swore off the idea of considering online poker in 2018, there is one state that hasn’t entirely abandoned it. Illinois remains quite open to the idea of discussing and potentially legalising online poker for its residents. There’s a lawmaker in the state who continues to champion the bill for this and whether or not it becomes a legal option will all depend upon a legislative hearing that will take place in October.
While it may push through the legislative hearing, it’s also important to remember that the process of legalising something can take several years. You only need to look towards the state of Pennsylvania for confirmation of this. It’s still a hope that Illinois won’t go down the same path, although the possibility is always there.
That being said, The Prairie State does seem like it would be a perfect fit for the online poker world. The main arguments for legalising it are that online casino revenues would receive a big boost and it would further set Illinois apart from neighbouring states that hold their own competitive gambling industries.
And online poker isn’t the only gambling sector that some lawmakers in Illinois are looking to legalise. Others are also pushing for the legalisation of fantasy sports. This is looking more likely due to the Supreme Court overturning the PASPA law in May of this year. The question is, will Illinois make the all-important move?
The Second Half of 2018 Could Be the Time
As July came to a close, a State Representative for Illinois Robert Rita, spoke of to hearings that would take place regarding the discussion of online gambling expansion. The first of these would be held in Chicago on August 22, while the second is set for October 3 in Springfield.
It’s true to say that sports betting is listed as the debate’s primary topic for discussion. However, Rita also sponsors the SB0007 bill. This remains from the year of 2017 and it seeks to make sports betting, fantasy sports and online poker and casino games legal. Three additional representatives, as well as four members coming from the Illinois Senate, have also co-sponsored the bill, which also hopes to authorise the building of various new land-based casinos around the state.
The bill has gone from pillar to post but hasn’t really received the full attention that Rita wants for it. Now though, with the potential for new amendments to the bill such as the state’s casinos receiving certain tax breaks and racetracks being given authority to host video gaming machines, Rita is looking for it to receive a lot more discussion.
Speaking of the upcoming hearing, Rita said that the gaming landscape on the whole has changed quite significantly since he first began pushing for more legalisation five years ago. He intends to use the hearings to understand how the more recent changes provide the state of Illinois with new opportunities.
The first hearing that was held in Chicago mere days ago lasted over four hours and it allowed everyone to voice their opinions on the topic. Naturally, those who are firmly against the introduction of more gambling pretty much chastised their opponents. Fortunately though, a lot more influence came from those looking to legalise it on a grander scale, raising interest in the sector.