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Winds of Change Blowing Internet Poker into the Windy City

The discussion of online gambling in the United States has been increasing in volume and frequency across America ever since December of 2011. That is when the United States Department of Justice casually reversed their opinion on the legality of online gambling in America. In the past they simply said any online gambling activity based in the United States was illegal. Now, after the DOJ change in attitude, they have decided to allow each of the individual United States to police and regulate their own online gambling legislation. Most recently, Illinois moved forward as possibly the leading contender to be the second state to pass online gambling legislation since the new DOJ position was announced last year.

Nevada has already passed legislation that would allow its residents and any travelers vacationing there to legally play poker online. Licenses are to go on sale within the next 30 to 60 days, and Nevada has placed itself in the enviable position of being the first to market legalized online gambling in the United States. California, Illinois, New Jersey and Hawaii have been the front runners in a group of about a dozen states attempting to push things forward and become only the second state to cash in on what looks to be a multibillion dollar financial pot.

The Prairie State recently came one step closer to that realization, as the third amendment to that state’s House Bill 4148 delivered a very specific plan of action regarding legalized online gambling in Illinois. In an attempt to tie any new online gambling legislation with the popular state lottery, the bill proposes a marriage between Internet Poker and the 16 casinos and horse tracks that already do business in Chicago and around the state. If the bill passes, each casino would be asked to pay $5 million for licensing fees to use the yet-to-be-created state of Illinois Internet Poker platform. Affiliates would also have a chance to buy licensing, and as much as $100 million is forecasted to be raised almost immediately for Illinois in licensing fees alone.

A similar bill authorizing the building of more brick-and-mortar casinos is up for passage as well, and those new casinos would be allowed to purchase Internet Poker licenses before they were built. This would allow a smooth and speedy transition for those institutions to cash in on the financial rewards that are already being delivered by millions of Illinois residents who play poker online currently. Instead of watching millions of dollars in profit go to some offshore locale, the profits could be kept at home and benefit the state.

With so many economies around the United States ailing since the 2008 economic collapse, allowing each individual state to benefit financially from an activity that is already being practiced by their residents only makes sense. And the players would benefit as well, knowing that their Internet Poker experience is policed, regulated and run on the local level. Nevada legislators predict some form of online poker experience to be delivered by the holiday season this year, and if Illinois passes this current legislation, they could challenge Nevada as the first to actually open the doors on a legal virtual casino based in the United States.