Athletic Directors Object, yet Bill Will Allow Gambling on Illinois College Sports
The Illinois sports betting industry is one of the biggest in the country; however, there was one major exclusion as residents of Illinois couldn’t bet on their favorite college sports teams. Despite heavy opposition from some university athletic officials, betting on in-state college sports teams could be legal with just one more signature. He has yet to voice an opinion in the regards that will be presented to him.
The Bill is Now Headed to Governor J.B. Pritzker for Final Approval
Accepting wagers on college sports teams would be a major expansion to the sports betting bill in Illinois. Prohibiting residents from betting on college sports has cost the state millions of potential revenue off the table according to sponsoring legislators. The only way at the time for a bettor to place a wager on local Illinois collegiate teams was going to Indiana or Iowa.
Senator Bill Cunningham’s proposed Senate Amendment 2 to House Bill 3136 passed with vast bipartisan support in both the Senate (44-12) and the House (100-11) last Thursday during a Fall veto session. Even Governor Pritzker signs there will be a few restrictions for the time being.
Residents will not be able to place bets on mobile apps or online, but they will be able to bet on the Illinois Fighting Illini, Northwestern Wildcats, and other schools across the state at a casino. Bettors will also not be able to place bets on player props or any other wagers that have to do with the under/over of player performances. The in-state ban would be reinstated in two years as the program has a sunset provision or a trial run until July 1, 2023, unless lawmakers pass another bill that would allow it.
There are more provisions in the bill as it would allow Wintrust Arena to apply for a sports betting license which is home to the WNBA Champion Chicago Sky. It would also prohibit a push tax on video gaming machines by municipalities as they will not be able to create such taxes after November 1st.
It would cap an annual fee that non-home rule municipalities can charge on video gaming terminals at $250, which was previously up from $25. Finally, the bill will allow online registration for sportsbooks as there was previously an 18-month hold on sports betting giants like Fanduel and DraftKings to give BetRivers and other operating facilities to establish a market in the state.
Why There Were Numerous Objections from School Athletic Directors
In the Spring, athletic directors at the Division 1 level in Illinois were concerned about the mental health and safety of their players. University of Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman led the way telling lawmakers that pushing this bill will only put an insane amount of pressure on student-athletes and even from other classmates or roommates.
Whitman stated,” By allowing people in our state to bet on our own student-athletes, we’re only opening the door and inviting people to have those intense, threatening, abusive interactions”
Sponsoring state Rep. Mike Zalewski believes that the new provisions will meet halfway as bettors have already wagered $947 million on other sports since its launch in 2020. 97 percent of the state’s handle were wagered online . With this legislation, sportsbooks can once again begin online registration applications on March 5, 2022.