The state of Illinois has the possibility of reaching around $200 million in yearly revenues through poker, should they decide to regulate and legalize poker. Illinois could become the fourth state to legalize poker and take advantage of the large stream of revenues that it would bring with it.
John Pappas, CEO of Poker Players Alliance (PPA), said in a comment to the Senate committee that not only would legislation of poker bring more money to the state through taxes and similar, but it would also provide tighter regulations for poker as a whole. Pappas said:
"Prohibition will only play into the hands of the criminal element,"
The outlook to new revenue streams coming into the state made Senate President John Cullerton saying that he was hoping that it would be possible to create a gambling expansion package before the spring legislative session ends. Being able to create the legislation before that would mean that the revenues would be able to flow in a lot quicker. Cullerton has been asking his democratic colleagues to look into legislations for more than two years now.
Back in 2012, Cullterton asked the legislative leaders and Governor Pat Quinn to add online poker to the yearly end of session horse trading show that takes place under the Statehouse dome. Cullerton admitted on Wednesday though, that it may be hard to get online poker legislated due to land-based casinos and horse-track owners being against having competition.
"There's a lot of complications about how it affects the existing gaming industry. That seems to be where the hang up might be right now," Cullerton said to the press.
Illinois temporary income tax is set to expire in the middle of the next fiscal year and Cullerton believes that it is possible for online poker's revenue to fill in a part of the $1.5 billion gap that they expect.
"The other states that are just getting started are bringing in some money so that might play a role in it when we try to pass a budget," He said.
Anita Bedell, executive director for the Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems believes that online poker should not be legalized, saying: "There are already enough opportunities for gambling in Illinois,"