Illinois In-Person Registration for Online Sportsbooks to End March 5 at Latest

Recently signed legislation will allow sports wagers on Illinois college teams as well, as long as the bets are placed before the game has begun and are determined solely by the final score or outcome.

Last Updated: Dec 20, 2021 12:15 PM ET Read Time: 2 min
Reggie Love III Illinois Fighting Illini college football
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Illinois lawmakers have set an official expiry date for the in-person registration requirement for online sportsbooks and have authorized wagering on the state’s college teams for a limited time. 

HB3136 was passed by both houses of the Illinois legislature in late October and was signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on December 17. 

The legislation amends the state’s Sports Wagering Act so the current requirement that residents must create online sports betting accounts in person at a casino ends on whichever comes first: March 5, 2022, or the day regulators issue the first online-only license to a sportsbook operator.

Pritzker suspended the in-person registration requirement for a time during the COVID-19 pandemic before reinstating it in April. The provision was initially put in place to give the state’s casinos a boost, but it forced would-be bettors to take a trip before being able to gain access to an online sportsbook. 

The Sports Wagering Act does require the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) to announce the winning bidders of online-only sports betting licenses within 630 days after issuing the first sportsbook permit, although that timeline is flexible. Legal sports betting began in Illinois in March 2020.

The IGB did kick off the process for awarding three online-only licenses back in August. The application period ended on December 3, but no winners have been announced yet.

“A winning bidder deemed suitable following the IGB’s investigation can then become licensed upon payment of the $20 million license fee,” the regulator noted back in August. “Upon completion of the statutory competitive selection process and issuance of the first online-only sports wagering operator license, the requirement for in-person sports wagering account registration under [the Illinois Sports Wagering Act] Sections 25-30, 25-35 and 25-40 terminates.”

The old college sports betting try

At any rate, the governor's approval of HB3136 now sets a hard deadline of March 5 for the end of the in-person registration requirement.

The bill will now allow some sports wagers on Illinois college teams as well, as long as the bets are placed before the game has begun and are determined solely by the final score or outcome. Bets would have to be placed in person and could not be based on an individual player’s performance, so no player props. 

HB3136 is acting as a trial balloon for betting on the state’s college teams, as it would only permit that limited form of wagering until July 1, 2023. Still, even that had been off-limits until Pritzker signed the bill.

The tweaks to sports-betting rules in the Land of Lincoln also come after the state's sportsbooks took $840.4 million in wagers in October, a new monthly record that was set even with the in-person registration requirement and no legal ability to bet Illinois college teams. The state’s handle could rise even higher without those constraints on it, although the effects may not be fully felt until after the football season.

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