12/20/2012 12:09PM

Illinois residents face account wagering blackout on Jan. 1


Illinois residents will be unable to bet with account-wagering operators beginning Jan. 1 because the state legislature adjourned for the year without extending a law making the practice legal, officials for the Illinois Racing Board confirmed Thursday.

The blackout could prove to be temporary if the legislature immediately passes a bill when it re-convenes Jan. 3, according to IRB executive director Marc Laino, but as of now, Illinois residents who were hoping to spend the New Year holiday playing the horses from home are out of luck.

“It appears that there will be a couple of days where there’s going to be no account wagering,” Laino said.

At a Tuesday meeting, the IRB denied the applications from account-wagering companies seeking to renew their licenses, based on the lack of enabling legislation. At the same, the board also passed a measure allowing Laino to approve temporary licenses at the moment new legislation is passed so that the companies will not have to wait until the next scheduled board meeting to restart operations.

Laino said he is confident that the issue will be addressed as soon as the legislature reconvenes. A bill extending the legality of account wagering passed in the Senate before the recess, but it stalled in the House “for unknown reasons,” Laino said.