Play the Ponies Online - NBC Chicago

Play the Ponies Online

Racing board approves online wagers



    Celebrate This Holiday Season in Lively St. Charles
    The Illinois Racing Board has approved licenses for three companies to accept online horse racing bets.

    Now you can play the ponies in your underwear. And no, we're not suggesting that you show up to Arlington in your boxers.

    The Illinois Racing Board voted unanimously this week to approve licenses allowing three companies to accept horse racing bets online.

    Now, instead of visiting a horse track or an off-track betting location, gamblers can place bets on horses from the comfort of their homes through approved Web sites, by phone and by mobile device.

    Horse racing has been losing business lately, and the board is hoping that this move will attract a new generation and more revenue.

    "I think it's great that Illinois is finally getting into the electronic age," Dennis Bookshester, a Racing Board commissioner from Chicago, told the Chicago Tribune. "This is an opportunity for us to really increase the amount of interest in our sport."

    Each web transaction will come with a 1.75 percent tax, which is expected to earn the state more than $1 million a year.

    You won't have to wait long either. All three companies had already been managing online betting in other states, and one company even launched its online betting program for Illinois mere hours after the board's approval.

    Just be sure not to lose your shirt. Or your underwear.

    Matt Bartosik, a "between blogs" blogger, is a dark horse.