April 29, 2021 3 min read

Illinois Revisits Sports Gambling Laws, Could Allow In-state College Wagers

Illinois has an interesting gaming industry. Casinos are allowed, but online casinos aren’t. Sports gambling is allowed and online sports gambling is permitted, as well. Online user registrations for sports gambling were allowed, but then stripped away. Now, as Chicago prepares to welcome a new casino, state lawmakers are taking another look at the gaming regulations and could soon introduce sweeping changes. These changes would come not long after lawmakers approved other changes, which would seem to indicate that the state’s gaming landscape is still a work in progress.

In-state College Sports Gambling On the Menu

Illinois lawmakers are reportedly considering the possibility of allowing the state’s colleges and universities to be included by sportsbooks when listing lines and odds. Previously, any game involving an in-state sports team was off-limits, but it now seems that lawmakers realize that this puts the state at a disadvantage against neighboring states. This is an idea that has been floating around since the beginning of the year, but is now being given more serious consideration.

Finding approval won’t be an easy task and there has been a lot of resistance. A meeting by the House Executive Committee to discuss the issue was held yesterday and the idea received blowback from Josh Whitman, the athletic director for the University of Illinois, some lawmakers and others. They contend that there is too much risk involved and that athletes could be too susceptible to manipulation should in-state college sports gambling be legalized. However, what they fail to understand is that the risk would be no greater than it already is, with other states and offshore sportsbooks providing lines on college games.

iGaming Gets Another Run at Illinois Lawmakers

iGaming has had a difficult time finding approval in Illinois, as well. There’s a bill in place that would legalize the activity, which came up for discussion in yesterday’s meeting, as well. Just like in-state gamblers will find a way to place wagers on any sport, they also find ways to visit online casinos. Absent any regulations, there are no consumer protections in place and no way for Illinois to capitalize on the revenue streams.

Representative Daniel Didech wants to change that. He asserted yesterday that the offshore websites are “predatory” and “very dangerous,” adding, “Money that is deposited into accounts on these illegal websites is not safe. It is not uncommon for there to see significant delays in the ability for consumers to cash out their money, and sometimes people never receive their money at all.” To counter those issues, legalizing online casinos would offer a viable solution. Yesterday’s committee meeting was held only to discuss the issues; no voting was held. This means that there is still more work to be done and more discussion to be had. Given that the legislative session ends on May 31, there’s not a great amount of time to find a resolution. It’s


Erik brings his unique writing talents and storytelling flare to cover a wide range of gambling topics. He has written for a number of industry-related publications over the years, providing insight into the constantly evolving world of gaming. A huge sports fan, he especially enjoys football and anything related to sports gambling. Erik is particularly interested in seeing how sports gambling and online gaming are transforming the larger gaming ecosystem.

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