Illinois Lawmakers Approve Revisions to Sports Betting Regulations

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The state of Illinois went live with legal sports betting in March of 2020. One of the conditions tied to legal betting online was in-person registration at land-based casinos for a mobile account.

This in-person requirement hampered the rollout with just 55 to 60 percent of the initial betting handle generated online. Given the market conditions at the time in the land-based gaming sector, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker temporarily suspended this requirement.

In-person registration was reinstated this past April. However, opposition to this requirement had grown. It was initially put into place to protect the land-based casinos in the state. Instead, it only limited the potential of the online sports betting industry.

That opposition grew into an effort by state lawmakers to end the in-person requirement. House Bill 3136 was recently approved. This led to the Illinois General Assembly amending the current law to do away with in-person registration for an online sports betting account.

The final vote heavily endorsed this much needed change. The state House approved the new legislation by a vote of 100-11. The state Senate followed suit with a final tally of 44-12.

The push was to enact the change ahead of next year’s NFL Super Bowl. However, it will still take some time to make remote registration a reality.

The new law is due to go into effect on March 5 of next year. This is just in time for the 2022 men’s college basketball NCAA Tournament.

This was not the only change to the current sports betting laws in the state. Another provision of the new legislation would open the door to wagering on in-state college athletics.

Legal bets on in-state college teams would be limited to pre-game wagers on the final score. These are referred to as Tier 1 bets. Bets on in-state college sports would also have to be placed at a retail sportsbook. They cannot be placed through an online sportsbook site or mobile betting app.

The new law does not make any changes to other in-state college athletics betting markets. For example, prop bets on in-state college games would still be prohibited.

The timeline for this change to go into effect will be delayed even longer. Legal bets on in-state college sports are expected to begin sometime towards the end of 2022. Despite the in-person registration requirement and lack of betting on in-state college games, Illinois remains a strong market for legal sports betting.

Illinois could also serve as a model for other states working through the legalization process. Regressive laws such as in-person registration requirements for online betting accounts are counterproductive.

Online sports betting through operator sites and mobile apps is the driving force behind industry growth. Betting on in-state college teams has not been detrimental to the integrity of the games.

Illinois can be viewed as living proof for both backing up each of these statements.

Written by our US Sports Industry Expert, Dave Schwab. You can learn more about our author's expertise here.