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Illinois Agrees to Allow In-State College Sports Betting

Illinois college sports

Illinois legalized sports betting in June of 2019, and the first wager was placed on March 9, 2020. Illinois has developed into a prominent sports betting state, and the legislature is attempting to expand sports betting.

The Illinois House of Representatives passed an amendment to Senate Bill 521, which would allow people in the state to wager in-state college teams. The amendment was passed on Tuesday morning, and its future in the Senate looks promising.

Details of the Amendment

Illinois offers mobile sports betting, but this amendment is exempt from online wagers. Under the amendment to SB 521, people in the state would be able to wager in-state college teams at retail sportsbooks throughout the state.

The wagers on the college teams can only be tier 1. This means that the bet must be considered by the final score or outcome of a game. The moneyline, spread, and over/under would fall under the tier 1 category.

However, there will be no player props allowed for in-state college games. Also, bets must be locked in before a game beginning. Live betting will still be prohibited for in-state college athletic teams.

The Next Steps of the Legislative Process

The SB 521 amendment passed with ease in the House. Representatives passed the provision by a 96-11 margin. Most of the initial work for the amendment was thanks to Representative Mike Zalewski, who filed House Bill 849.

This bill did not pass, but it intended to remove the ban on in-state college sports wagering. Zalewski thinks the latest bill is still restrictive for bettors, but it’s a fair compromise for sportsbooks and the universities in the state.

Before the House voted on the bill, he said, “We took the concerns of Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman to heart, who said that a saturated sports betting market would do damage to collegiate athletics. That’s not what this bill does. This bill is a good balance between what we heard from stakeholders and being able to improve our sports betting market.

The amendment must be passed in the Senate before it can be signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker. If it is passed, bettors would be allowed to wager in-state college programs through July 1, 2023. The amendment is set on a two-year basis, so it would be reconsidered at the deadline.

This is likely to help its chances in the Senate because it can be scrapped in two years if legislators realize it was not valued in the state.

Losing Money

The effort by many legislators is because Illinois has been losing a lot of potential revenue for bettors’ inability to wager in-state college programs. In the NCAA Tournament, residents of the state could not bet on Illinois vs. Chicago, which was a huge matchup.

Illinois still had a record month of sports betting in March, but it could have been much larger if in-state college betting was legal. The total handle throughout the month was $633.6 million compared to the previous record of $581.5 million.

The Senate has adjourned, so the bill will be discussed next time the chamber is in session.

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