Illinois House of Representatives

  • Illinois could have in-state college sports betting by the end of this year.
  • Senate Bill 521 would open up moneyline-only style wagers on college teams in the state at retail sportsbooks.
  • The Senate and the House both passed the bill but the House added amendments that will need the Senate to hold a second vote that should occur by the Fall.

CHICAGO – The Illinois General Assembly adjourned on Tuesday but not before having the House approve a bill that would allow in-state college wagers. Currently, the sports betting industry in the state prohibits college betting for all in-state schools. However, Senate Bill 521 was created to change that.

IL SB 521 would amend the present law in regards to its stance on college wagers. The bill passed in the Senate on April 21 with 56 YEAS and 0 NAYS. It then passed in the House on June 1 with 96 YEAS and 11 NAYS, well after midnight as it was the last day of the session, leaving no time for the Senate to vote again.

The House passage required amendments to the proposal that will now need to see the measure put to a second Senate vote before it can be sent to Governor J.B. Pritzker for signature.

What Are The Amendments?

Senate Bill 521 to change the regulated sports betting industry of Illinois only has a handful of amendments that the Senate will surely approve just to get in-state college betting available to the public.

For one, no mobile sportsbooks will be allowed to accept wagers for in-state colleges, only land-based venues will be eligible. Illinois is home to a number of schools with top teams and had they allowed for wagers on March Madness alone, they could have seen a surge in activity for sports bettors gambling on the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers or Illinois Fighting Illini who were playing in the tournament.

Only moneyline bets or “Tier 1” betting lines will be made available for in-state schools per the latest version of the amended bill for Illinois sports betting. Outside of these two changes, one has nothing to do with the subject but was added to the proposal. The WNBA’s Chicago Sky organization wants to open a retail sportsbook at their arena, the Wintrust Arena and IL SB 521 would allow them to do so.

What’s Coming Up

With the 2021 session adjourned, the Illinois Senate will be meeting at a special time during the year to tie up loose ends. Senate Bill 521 is one of them. They are expected to meet by the Fall for a final vote on the measure that is more than likely to pass with the House’s amendments, allowing the residents of Illinois to wager on college football with local sportsbooks this year.

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