Big Changes Coming to Illinois Sports Betting
Illinois sportsbooks are gearing up for March Madness, which could be a huge weekend for the sports betting operators. Remote registration is set to return on March 5, and bettors will be able to create an account from the comfort of their own homes.
Illinois and Nevada are currently the only two states that require in-person registration, but that hasn’t always been the case in Illinois. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order that allowed for remote registration as casinos were shut down.
It was HB 3136 that officially changed this rule for good after it was signed by Pritzker in December. To celebrate the return of mobile registration, many sportsbooks in Illinois will be offering terrific welcome bonuses and promotions.
Despite the in-person registration requirement, Illinois continues to be one of the five biggest sports betting markets in the United States. March 5 could also be the opening day for the BetMGM Sportsbook as it has announced plans to launch in the first quarter.
Remote registration has been requested by all of the top online sportsbooks, but the in-person requirement was initially included in the first gaming expansion bill. Lawmakers in the state had hoped to protect the commercial casinos, and they were attempting to keep FanDuel and DraftKings out of the state.
Wagering On Illinois Teams Now Available
Another big change that is coming once HB 3136 officially goes into effect is that bettors will now be able to wager on in-state college teams. This has been a huge debate in the state of Illinois as university leaders have lobbied to lawmakers to keep this from taking place.
Some restrictions come with this rule change, and betting on in-state college teams at an online sportsbook will still be off-limits. Bettors will have to travel to a retail sportsbook to bet on the Fighting Illini in the NCAA Tournament, and there won’t be any prop bets offered either.
Lawmakers are expected to revisit this rule change in two years after taking a close look at the data that comes in.
When Will Arena Sports Betting Start?
Casinos are not the only properties authorized to offer in-person sports betting, but that is currently where all of the sportsbooks are. Arenas and stadiums in Illinois can also apply for a license as long as they meet certain requirements.
WinTrust Arena is now eligible to apply for a sports betting license after the capacity requirement was removed. WinTrust Arena is home to the Chicago Sky, and that team just recently won an NBA Championship.
Wrigley Field and the United Center have both announced plans to offer in-person sports betting, but that isn’t an option at this time. With all of these changes coming, Illinois should continue to see a huge boost in the overall sports betting numbers.