A bill that legalized mobile sportsbook registration and a number of other sports betting provisions was signed into law by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday.
Illinois H.B. 3136, which cleared both chambers of the state’s legislature in late October, also allows residents to wager on in-state college sporting events, in addition to adding Chicago’s Wintrust Arena (home of the DePaul Blue Demons and the WNBA’s Chicago Sky) to the list of pro sports venues eligible for an onsite sportsbook.
The other item included in the updated Illinois gambling bill is a ban on towns tacking on per-push taxes on video slot machines, according to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times.
What an End to In-Person Registration Entails
The item from Friday’s bill signing that likely means the most to Illinois sports betting customers is the slated end of in-person sportsbook registration on March 5.
The state’s 2019 sports betting law requires customers who want to wager online to first register in-person at an operators’ retail location. The in-person registration requirement could only be lifted after an online-only license was awarded in the state. The fee to acquire a mobile-only license is $20 million. Because of the cost, online operators like DraftKings Sportsbook joined forces with casinos and racetracks to gain entry into the market.
The in-person registration statute was waived via an executive order by Pritzker during the COVID-19 pandemic but was not renewed earlier this year. With Friday’s bill signing, in-person registration will end in early March whether a mobile license has been awarded or not.
What to Know About College Betting
The other key element of House Bill 3136 was the end of the state’s ban on in-state college sports wagering.
But the new bill still places certain limits on in-state college betting. All college sports bets must be placed in person at a casino or racetrack sportsbook.
Additionally, college sports wagers are limited to the outcome of games and not tied to individual performances. The ban will be reinstated in 2024 unless the legislature chooses to pass another bill in the future to permanently legalize in-state college sports betting.
What Impact Does HB 3136 Have on the Illinois Market
The end of in-person sportsbook registration and the addition of college wagering is seen as a boost to the state’s sports betting marketplace.
That’s because when you add ways to register people for sports betting and give them more wagering options, you broaden the pool of customers in the state.
Illinois is coming off a record $840 million sports betting handle in October, a sum that ranked third in the nation — behind New Jersey and Nevada.
The state’s sports betting pot should increase, with added sports and easier entry into mobile wagering.
Friday’s bill signing clears the way for simpler sportsbook registration and gives customers more choice, giving Illinois sports betting customers reason to celebrate the arrival of the new year.