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posted: 5/23/2013 6:17 PM

Lawmakers move to allow betting on horses online

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SPRINGFIELD -- Almost five months after the expiration of a law allowing Illinoisans to bet on horses online, lawmakers have moved to try to legalize the practice again.

An Illinois House committee approved legislation Thursday, sending it to the full House.

Local enthusiasts haven't been able to legally play the ponies online since Jan. 1, when the state's law allowing it expired.

Online betting is a big moneymaker for tracks like Arlington International Racecourse. And Arlington owner Churchill Downs also owned one of the companies, TwinSpires, that previously was taking online bets in Illinois.

TwinSpires and another company, Xpressbet, were taking wagers even after Jan. 1 until state officials insisted they stop. The legislation would allow those companies to keep their licenses if they pay taxes on the money they made after the law expired.

Anita Bedell, director of Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems, said she thinks that's wrong.

"Gambling companies should follow the law and not flout the law," Bedell said.

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