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Emily D. Swoboda

State of Ill. Mulling ADW Scheme to Contain Revenue

29 April 2008

Lawmakers in Illinois want the state to join the Internet horse race wagering club.

Senator John J. Cullerton, Democrat of Chicago, sponsored SB2702, which would amend the Horse Racing Act of 1975 to establish an advance deposit wagering scheme, an activity already legal in at least 20 states throughout the country.

The bill passed the Illinois Senate on April 17 by a 37-13 vote.

Before the vote, Mr. Cullerton told the Senate that advance deposit wagering is not an expansion of gambling, adding that it could bring in an additional $1 million a year for the state.

"It's legal right now for people in Illinois on the phone to establish an account and to bet on races outside of Illinois, and we're not regulating those people that they're placing those bets with," Mr. Cullerton said.

"It's taking what is ongoing right now and regulating it and taxing it," he added. "So it makes all the sense in the world and it's clearly not an expansion of gambling."

The measure now awaits approval by the House where Representative Robert S. Molaro, Democrat of Chicago, is spokesperson for the bill.

Mr. Molaro told Interactive Gaming News that the state is losing money to other states by not offering legal, pari-mutuel wagering.

"[Advance deposit wagering] is legalized in 21 other states, and what's happening is a lot of our bettors are opening up accounts in other states," he said.

"And instead of them betting through our racetracks and our OTBs," he continued, "they're betting through Penn National system or New York system -- or some other state system -- and we're losing money because it's not going through our pari-mutuel people. It's going to another state's."

Charles Humphrey, an attorney and creator of, said Illinois anti-gambling law exempts from its criminal statutes pari-mutuel betting as authorized by state law.

"If the state adopts a law specifically allowing and offering participation in online pari-mutuel betting in accordance with the Federal Interstate Horseracing Act, then the Illinois law outlawing operating an Internet betting platform will be superseded and will not be applicable to such online pari-mutuel betting," Mr. Humphrey said.

Mr. Molaro said he is hoping the bill will recieve a hearing in the House.

As yet, no date has been set.

Mr. Cullerton could not be reached for comment.

Click here to view SB2702.

State of Ill. Mulling ADW Scheme to Contain Revenue is republished from
Emily D. Swoboda
Emily D. Swoboda