Featured in this article:
  • Illinois Governor signed a sports betting law updating some features of the nascent industry.
  • Bettors will be allowed to register at new sportsbooks online.
  • Limited wagering on in-state colleges will be allowed for the first time.

3 Minute Read

Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant bats against the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo Credit: David Banks)

Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill that tweaks two of Illinois’ most controversial sports betting laws. First, players will permanently be allowed to register for online sportsbooks remotely. Second, Illinois will allow limited betting on in-state college athletic competitions.

Ever since Gov. Pritzker made gambling expansion a priority in 2019, betting has taken off in the Land of Lincoln. Illinois posted a $5 billion total sports betting handle faster than any other state and is one of largest wagering markets in the country.

Illinois Sports Betting Remote Sign-Ups Coming For March Madness

Originally, Illinois laws called for all sportsbook registration to be accomplished in person. That meant that everyone who wanted to bet had to head to one of the state’s casinos and show their ID.

Chicago casino

Chicagoans will no longer need to head to a casino to register for a new sportsbook.

However, during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when casinos were closed to in-person traffic, the governor allowed mobile and remote sign-ups. Bettors could simply verify their identity through a mobile app and place bets immediately.

Somewhat surprisingly, Gov. Pritzker re-instituted in-person registration in May. For a growing market, in-person sign-ups can prevent new customers from registering. Additionally, it excludes tourists and visitors from participating in the market, unless they plan a stop at a casino as part of their trip.

Now, remote registration will be allowed for all Illinois sports betting. And HB 3136, which Pritzker just signed, established March 5, 2022 as the date to start online and mobile sportsbook verification. New Illinois bettors will be able to sign up for a sportsbook online just in time for March Madness.

Bill Allows Wagering on In-State Colleges, Kind Of

Previously, Illinois had a blanket ban on placing bets on in-state college games. The state’s sportsbooks were not allowed to book a wager on Northwestern football or University of Illinois hoops.

But Illinois was costing itself significant interest, as demonstrated when Loyola of Chicago faced Illinois in the NCAA tournament last March. However, HB 3136 does not fully open the floodgates for in-state college betting in Illinois.

Instead, bettors hoping to wager on the Illini or Wildcats will need to place bets in-person at retail sportsbooks. Additionally, there will be no live, in-game betting on Illinois colleges. Only pre-game bets will be allowed.

Further, prop betting on Illinois college games is still prohibited. The athletic director at the University of Illinois has strenuously objected to allowing bets. He argues that athletes could face pressure or even retribution for losing gamblers money.

Other states have reported no issues with in-state college sports betting. Ohio is planning to allow all types of bets on its college teams. The half-measure in the new Illinois sports betting bill only cracks the door open and will likely leave no one satisfied.

Most likely, in a year or two, another law will pass that allows full mobile, prop, and in-game betting on Illinois college sports.

Dave Consolazio

Dave Consolazio has been passionate about writing and sports journalism since his high school years. He has a degree in Broadcast Journalism from USC where he worked with the school's radio and television stations. His work has been featured in SportsbookReview, Sports Illustrated and SB Nation. Dave's experience ranges across multiple fields in the gambling industry. You can find his sports, casino, and poker articles in GambleOnline.co.

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