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

  • Amendment to House Bill 3136 Easily Passed both the Illinois House and Senate
  • Next Step: Governor J. B. Pritzker Must Sign Bill into Law
  • Timeline: Illinois Retail and Online Sports Betting Journey

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Amendment to House Bill 3136 Easily Passed both the Illinois House and Senate

Late last week, lawmakers in the Illinois General Assembly soundly approved a bill that would allow residents to bet on in-state college sports in what would be a major expansion of the existing sports betting legislation in that state.

In our ongoing coverage of this story, we detailed the journey of this measure to allow Prairie State bettors to wager on the sports teams of in-state universities, and last Thursday Amendment 2 to House Bill 3136 received vast bipartisan support in both the House and Senate despite certain objections.

Those concerns, including the potential effects on student-athletes, were considered by Rep. Bob Rita, the bill’s House sponsor, and the legislation was adjusted accordingly.

We did hear in our testimony that there could be some negative consequences to our Illinois players. And that’s why we just looked at outcome rather than player performance.

Now that the approved bill is on its way to the Governor.

Next Step: Governor J. B. Pritzker Must Sign Bill into Law

The future of legal gambling on in-state college sports now depends on Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker’s willingness to sign the bill into law, the same as he did with the original sports betting bill that he approved back in 2019 during his first year in office.

Once Gov. Pritzker’s signature is given, any business already holding a sports betting license would then be legally permitted to take bets on an Illinois college team, that is so long as those wagers are placed in person at a betting facility and not online.

Those bets must be “Tier 1” wagers, meaning they must be placed before the event begins and that they must be determined by the final score or outcome only, with bets on individual performances prohibited.

Of course, bettors in the Land of Lincoln are no strangers to the sports betting market.

Timeline: Illinois Retail and Online Sports Betting Journey

The journey towards legal sports betting in Illinois stretches back a few years now, so here is a quick timeline of the major events:

  • May 14, 2018 – the Supreme Court of the United States strikes down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the federal law that prevented states from regulating sports betting.
  • June 3, 2019 – after a fierce debate, Illinois lawmakers push a legal sports betting bill through the state legislature.
  • June 28, 2019 – Governor J.B. Pritzker signs the sports betting bill into law.
  • March 9, 2020 – the first legal wager in Illinois is placed at Rivers Casino, owned by Chicago-based Rush Street Interactive.
  • June 18, 2020 – online sports betting apps are authorized once BetRivers goes live.
  • October 28, 2021 – Amendment 2 to House Bill 3136 allowing for wagering on in-state college sports passes through both the Illinois House and Senate.

The next date on that timeline will be added whenever the governor puts his mark on this latest measure, taking yet another forward step in legal sports betting in Illinois.

Keep checking back for all the latest news and updates.

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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]