SPRINGFIELD - Betting on horse races via the internet is now illegal in Illinois. Attempts to extend a 3 year pilot program set into law in 2009 failed in the recent veto session, and as a result, Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW), which allows Internet bets on horseracing, became illegal December 31, 2012.
However, two of the four ADW companies authorized for Illinois wagering accounts continued to take illegal wagers when the ADW door closed at midnight January 1. Twin Spires, which is owned by Churchill Downs, owners of Arlington Park racetrack in Arlington Heights, is one of the companies that continued operations. Xpressbet is the other company that has not indicated they will stop taking online bets.
TVG and locally based BetZotic have indicated they will pull the plug on accounts for Illinois residents, IRB Executive Director Marc Laino said Jan. 9. TVG notified Illinois clients by e-mail
that wagering through the system would end Jan. 10. but that accounts would continue to be available for inspection and other non-wagering activity. BetZotic's website announced wagering activities for Illinois residents ended Jan. 1.
$122 million was wagered through ADW in Illinois during 2012, with the state taking $1.75 million in taxes on those bets. Revenue from ADW accounts for almost 30% of the Illinois Racing Board's budget, a reason for the board to be keenly interested in reinstating ADW in Illinois.
Gambling opponents are asking questions about how Attorney General Lisa Madigan will enforce the law and if she will stop the wagering companies from conducting illegal gambling. Then, if the legislature votes to legalize ADW again, will the companies that conducted illegal wagering have their licenses renewed?
Anita Bedell, head of Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems, places the job of enforcing the law into AG Madigan's jurisdiction.
“This is the second time Advance Deposit Wagering companies have engaged in illegal gambling in Illinois. We call on the Attorney General to act quickly to stop the illegal gambling of horseracing on the internet.”
More to come ...