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Article updated: 5/27/2013 5:49 AM

Illinois House backs online horse betting plan

A push to once again allow Illinoisans to bet on horses online continues to advance after the Illinois House on Sunday approved the proposal. Arlington International Racecourse officials are among the horse racing industry advocates wanting to give gamblers back their online betting abilities after the rules allowing it expired at the beginning of the year.

A push to once again allow Illinoisans to bet on horses online continues to advance after the Illinois House on Sunday approved the proposal. Arlington International Racecourse officials are among the horse racing industry advocates wanting to give gamblers back their online betting abilities after the rules allowing it expired at the beginning of the year.

 

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SPRINGFIELD -- A push to once again allow Illinoisans to bet on horses online continues to advance after the Illinois House on Sunday approved the proposal.

Arlington International Racecourse officials are among the horse racing industry advocates wanting to give gamblers back their online betting abilities after the rules allowing it expired at the beginning of the year.

After a 90-18 vote in the House, the legislation now moves to the state Senate.

The proposal also would send more than $23 million in casino revenues to the racing industry. More than $109 million has accumulated in a fund for the industry over the years, but it's not been paid out because of a dispute over the law.

The rest of the money will go toward school construction throughout the state. That the racing industry won't get the full amount it was promised irked state Rep. David Harris, an Arlington Heights Republican.

"When you make a deal with the state, they ought to uphold the deal," Harris said.

Lawmakers on the other side, however, argued the industry would get nothing without the legislation. Arlington leaders have backed it.

The plan also would let two companies that took bets from Illinois gamblers even after the law expired -- one owned by Arlington owner Churchill Downs -- pay taxes on their revenues and otherwise avoid punishment.

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