Illinois Bill Allowing Betting on In-State College Sports Up for Senate Consideration

  • Illinois Senate Executive Committee Revived a Limited Sports Betting Bill Wednesday
  • Breakdown: What Senate Amendment 2 to House Bill 3136 Contains
  • Revived Bill Also Allows for Online Registration Beginning March 2022

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Illinois Senate Executive Committee Revived a Limited Sports Betting Bill Wednesday

On Wednesday, the Illinois Senate Executive Committee revived a bill that allows for limited sports betting on in-state university sports teams, setting it up for full consideration by the Senate, a necessary step before the chamber has a chance to vote on the proposed legislation.

Last May, a similar version of the bill passed the state House of Representatives, but that approval came too late in the legislative session for the Senate to have enough time to consider whether to vote on it.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Bill Cunningham, assured the Senate Execute Committee that his aim is to cooperate with members of the House in order “to achieve some level of agreement” on the bill.

The legislation contains several potential points of contention.

Breakdown: What Senate Amendment 2 to House Bill 3136 Contains

The Illinois sports betting legislation that allows for placing wagers on in-state college sports teams is called Senate Amendment 2 to House Bill 3136 and it contains some of these key elements and more:

  • Only wagers on in-state teams will be accepted.
  • Bets must be “Tier 1” wagers, meaning “determined solely by the final score or final outcome” of a sporting event.
  • The annual fee that non-home rule municipalities can charge on video gaming terminals is capped at $250, up from $25.
  • Municipalities are prohibited from taxing video gambling machines or bets placed on the machines, what’s called a “push tax.”
  • Fraternal organizations like VFW posts and American Legions are allowed to apply for gambling machine licenses, even if the municipality in which they are located has a local ban on them, though not in Chicago and Cook County.

Unfortunately, this bill revival happened just one day before the General Assembly is schedule to adjourn for the year, so whether lawmakers can get it to a vote is still in question.

Revived Bill Also Allows for Online Registration Beginning March 2022

Should Amendment 2 to House Bill 3136 be approved by both the state House and Senate, it can then be signed into law by Governor J. B. Pritzker and at that point, any business with a sports betting license could then legally take a bet on an Illinois college team.

Senator Cunningham has made it clear that the new law would also allow online registration of sports gambling applications, a key addition since the first sports gambling legalization bill required all new accounts to be created at a retail gambling facility.

According to the amended bill, those online applications could begin to be accepted as soon as March 5, 2022, although that date could shift according to Senator Cunningham:

The date that allows online registration to occur is ambiguous under current legislation, raising concerns that it could push online registration successfully in the spring and summer. It can bring millions of dollars to the state.

It will take swift action by lawmakers to turn this revived bill into law during this current session, but regardless it’s a sign that at this point, regulated sports betting on Illinois college teams is a matter of when not if.

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Mike Lukas

Expert on NFL

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]