After a weekend of brutal beats in the NFL, sports bettors in Illinois have something to celebrate with HB3136 signed by Governor JB Pritzker. On Friday afternoon, Pritzker signed a bill that will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the Illinois sports betting market, which is developing into one of the largest in the country. Among other developments, the most notable piece of the new legislation is the permission given to sportsbooks to allow bettors to register remotely – this will massively expand the profitability of the online sports betting market.
Online Registration in Illinois
Previously in Illinois, unlike in other states, individuals were forced to drive to the retail sportsbook location to register for an online account. For many people, this was not a feasible proposition. For example, if you live in Chicago and want to register for a FanDuel Sportsbook account, you would have to drive 170 miles to East Peoria to do so. However, the new gaming bill, which was passed in both chambers during the fall veto session, now establishes March 5 as the date on which remote registration will be available in Illinois.
For most of 2020, Illinois did have remote registration available after Governor Pritzker allowed Executive Order 2020-41 to lapse due to COVID-19 prohibiting individuals from in-person registration. The extension of this period allowed Illinois to become a top-three market in the United States. Illinois is one of four states to surpass $7 billion in all-time sports betting handle. In October, Illinois reported its all-time monthly handle of $840.4 million, the ninth-largest handle ever reported by a state. With complete remote registration on the horizon, Illinois should continue to grow its sports betting market.
In-State College Sports Betting
In addition to the pending removal of the in-person registration requirement, HB3136 also lifts a ban on in-state collegiate sports betting. However, the new legislation prohibits individuals from betting on in-state colleges on mobile sportsbooks; you have to place your bets in person, and you can’t place live wagers on those games. In addition, bettors can only place wagers on the game’s outcome, not on individual player props. College sports accounted for almost $800 million in total bets over the first ten months of the year, and that number could rise significantly with the new permittance of wagering on in-state colleges.
Wintrust Arena Now Eligible for License
Finally, Pritzker approved Wintrust Arena, home to the Chicago Sky (WNBA) and DePaul (NCAA), as one of the five sports facilities in the state that will be eligible for a sports betting license. Last Monday, a joint City Council Committee in Chicago agreed to lift the existing ban on sports betting to allow four stadiums to establish sportsbooks in and around their premises. The initial four approved were Wrigley Field (Cubs), Guaranteed Rate Field (White Sox), Soldier Field (Bears), and the United Center (Bulls and Blackhawks), and now Wintrust Arena joins that list. The ordinance passed by the joint City Council Committee was not approved without some significant resistance, and some heavy hitters played a substantial role in that development last week.