Illinois Gambling Expansion Proposal Would Legalize Internet Gam - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Illinois Gambling Expansion Proposal Would Legalize Internet Gambling

Updated: April 1, 2013 09:20 PM CDT
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Should Internet gambling be allowed in the state of Illinois? That's the question lawmakers and Governor. Pat Quinn will have to consider as part of the latest gambling expansion proposal in the General Assembly.

A lot of people we talked to in Rock Island, near Jumer's Casino, said they would like to see support for that bill.

"I think it's a great idea. If it's a way to raise money for taxes or anything, I think go for it," said Brandon Zeglin, who lives in Rock Island.

"Hopefully it will pass, and then that way we'll be getting some more money in the community. That'd be nice," said Santina Bennett, who said she likes what Jumer's has done for the city.

"I really don't care. I think they should. If people want to do it, I think they should," Donisha Hawkins, another Rock Island resident, said.

The proposal on the table would expand gambling in Illinois by adding five new casinos and thousands of slot machines.

"I suppose there are ups and downs either way you look at it," said Brad Holcomb, who was filling up his gas tank at the BP near Jumer's Monday afternoon.

"it could be good for people to go have fun, but bad for people losing too much money," he explained.

Governor Quinn already rejected two similar proposals, saying they didn't include enough ethical safeguards and regulation.

So, lawmakers came back with this proposal, banning political contributions from the gambling industry and adding more oversight.

But this bill would also legalize Internet gambling in the state. That would allow Illinois residents to play games their computers or smart phones - with real money on the line.

"It's always a good thing, more money coming in," Bennett said.

On the other hand, some say using a smart phone to gamble may make it a little too easy to get into trouble.

"If I was having a couple too many drinks that wouldn't be good," Zeglin said.

"Well, I say no," said Rock Island resident Dajanique Weathers when asked whether she supported legalization of Internet gambling, "Gambling is just a little too much."

In the end, it will be up to lawmakers to make their case to the governor, who has said he's skeptical about the merits of online gambling. He said there are still too many questions.

On top that, he says there will be no gambling expansion until lawmakers can fix the state's nearly $100-billion pension crisis.

When it comes to the state's finances, nearly everyone we talked to could agree on that: Whether it's through expanded gambling - or another way - Illinois could definitely use some more money.

Despite his rejection of earlier gambling expansion proposals, Governor Quinn has signaled that he is more open to the idea now than ever before. He even mentioned it in his March budget address.

Last year, Illinois became the first state to sell lottery tickets online.

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