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Illinois Wavers On Online Poker, Says No For Now


Illinois has been a state that has been a little under the radar of poker advocates to some extent. It has not necessarily been the most promising candidate for the next state to make a move towards legalization. However, just when everyone is about to foreclose on the opportunity to get online poker in Illinois, it seems to become a possibility once again. 

What we know right now is that Illinois will not legalize online poker in 2017. That being said, there is hope for poker advocates in the state. The legislation to legalize online poker in that state is not completely dead. Rather, it is possible that the bill could be brought up again in session in Illinois as early as January of 2018. That is when the new legislative session begins in that state, and you can bet that poker advocates will make sure that this legislation remains on the minds of all lawmakers in that state. 

Many Democratic State Senators introduced and co-sponsored the bill in Illinois. It is technically a bill to amend current gambling legislation in Illinois that relates to riverboat gambling. However, the overall impact of the bill is to legalize poker in Illinois. 

The bill had no trouble making it through the State Senate in Illinois. There it was passed by a vote of 42-10. That is a surprisingly strong win for poker advocates. However, the compromise bill in the State House has not yet been voted on. There were hearings which were delayed on the bill. When those hearings finally took place, the House decided to table the legislation for the time being. If the House does pass something similar, the two chambers will have to get together in a process known as "reconciliation" to bring together the two bills into one bill with the same language that must then pass a majority vote in both chambers once more. 

Given that Pennsylvania did vote to legalize online poker within its borders this past year, there is some pressure on Illinois to follow suit. There are strong indications that they have the votes necessary to pull that off, but it won't be until at least early 2018.

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