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Illinois Approves First Online Betting Licences

14th October 2009 7:48 am GMT

Just weeks after the state signed a bill to authorise online betting on horse racing within the state for the next three years, the Illinois Racing Board yesterday issued the state's first licences, as expected, to Youbet.com and Twinspires.com, as well as Betfair's advance deposit wagering business TVG Network.

In August of this year Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed the Horse-Advance Deposit Wagering Bill, which amends the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975 to authorise advance deposit wagering in the state until August 2012, allowing Illinois residents to place bets online via authorised ADW providers and at ADW terminals at wagering facilities.

At a meeting of the Illinois Racing Board Tuesday, the board awarded licences for the remainder of 2009 and the 2010 calendar year to three U.S based advance deposit wagering providers; Churchill Downs' Twinspires.com, Betfair's TVG Network, and Youbet.com, with a separate licence for its United Tote subsidiary.

TVG Network said its online services would now become operational in Illinois following the licence approval. A representative of the company told Associated Press that it plans a significant state-wide marketing campaign in Illinois, targeting advertising on billboards, radio, taxis and buses.

Experts suggest that horse race betting could become a $100 - $150 million industry in Illinois next year, which would generate approximately $1.7 - $2.25 million in new taxes.

The Illinois Racing Board has approved a total of 493 live race programmes for the 2010 season across five racecourses, which includes 252 thoroughbred and 241 harness races.

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