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Illinois Senate to Vote on Internet Lottery Bil

18 February 2005

Illinois State Senator John Cullerton, D-Chicago, has introduced legislation that would allow the state's residents to purchase lottery tickets over the Internet. The Senate Revenue Committee passed Senate Bill 0198 Wednesday by a vote of 6-4; it now awaits a second reading and vote before the entire Illinois Senate on Feb. 23.


"I just wonder why we are passing up an opportunity to get money into the common school fund. It's not an expansion of gambling. It's legal, and it would appeal to wealthier patrons."
- Sen. John Cullerton

Rather than a permanent, state-wide launch of lottery games via the Internet, the bill proposes a pilot offering so that the Illinois Lottery may test its online system over a small area for a limited time. Theoretically, the lottery would gain information about what type of players are using the Internet and how often so that it could then determine the feasibility of a state-wide launch. The pilot would also enable the operator to determine how well its software works and whether the system is secure.

The aim is to bring new revenues to the stagnant Illinois Lottery and generate as much as an additional $100 million annually to the state's public school system.

"I think it's a great idea," Cullerton said. "I just wonder why we are passing up an opportunity to get money into the common school fund. It's not an expansion of gambling. It's legal, and it would appeal to wealthier patrons."

The Chicago Sun Times has reported that a group of three men who approached Cullerton with the idea are already developing software that would enable the state to put its games online. The group includes Mark Doyle, a former aide to President Bill Clinton and a member of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's transition team, Dr. Steven DeAngelis, a physician who has Chicago Mayor Richard Daley as a patient, and Phil Stefani, a Chicago restaurant owner who has donated more than $43,000 to Illinois politicians.

Cullerton says he has already obtained a legal opinion that an online lottery in Illinois would be consistent with federal law. He also says that it isn't necessary for a bill to pass through the legislature for the state lottery to offer its games online.

"The government's office can do this on their own," Cullerton said. "They don't need us to pass this law. We're trying to continue to work with them, but they said they questioned whether or not it would bring in that much money, and I said, 'Who cares, what if it only brings in a little bit of money. Why not still try it?'"

Cullerton expects the bill will run into opposition from many who claim an online lottery will lead to an expansion of gambling. He particularly expects opposition from Republicans, event though the lottery isn't exactly a partisan issue. Fortunately for him, Democrats outnumber Republicans in the Illinois legislature.

No U.S. state has ever allowed its lottery to offer games over the Internet. A bill to put Georgia's state lottery online passed the state's House last year but never received a vote from the Senate.

Click here to view S.B. 0198.

Illinois Senate to Vote on Internet Lottery Bil is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Bradley Vallerius

Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com
Bradley Vallerius
Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com