Two New Sports Betting Bills Proposed in Illinois
Since sports wagering has become a legal possibility on a state-by-state basis, Illinois’ sports betting legislation has been continuously developing, bit by bit. Two new bills have recently been filled, seeking to make subtle but important changes to the 2019 Sports Wagering Act of 2019. Although legal progress is not exactly instantaneous when it comes to sports betting, it has been continuous. Notably, for Illinois, house bill HB 3136, which as of March 5th, allowed bettors to register online rather than in person at brick-and-mortar casinos. Unsurprisingly, this did wonders for both the online sports betting industry and the state, with sportsbooks gaining profits of around $490 million and the state gaining over $73 million in taxes, respectively.
The two latest bills look likely to produce the same or similar results. The first of the two was signed by Pritzker and has allowed another establishment, Wintrust Arena, to register for a facility sports wagering license. With this, betting enthusiasts are sure to have more choices when it comes to sportsbooks! This bill likely passed in no small part due to the recent WNBA winners Chicago Sky, which has allowed the team’s owner to convince lawmakers to add the Wintrust arena to the proposed bill.
The second bill is the lifting of betting restrictions on Illinois state schools. Although a relatively tentative start, it will surely be welcomed by many bettors who were somewhat frustrated by the initial ban. However, this bill is only a partial development, as it only allows in-person wagering before a game starts. It is important to note that college sports wagering in Illinois came to almost $800 million in the first 10 months of 2021, with over 96% of that coming from online wagering. So it seems the newly proposed bill is likely to miss the mark when solely considering demand, profits, and taxes. Nevertheless, the end result is that Illinois bettors will be able to bet on their own state colleges proudly, and both the state and sports betting industry is likely to profit. Perhaps college sports betting will open up further to allow more betting options, but only time will tell when and if that will happen!