Illinois Committee Discusses In-Person Registration, College Betting

Spread the Word:

Various issues including in-person registration and in-state college betting were discussed during Wednesday’s Illinois Executive Committee hearing.

 The state representatives asked the questions regarding the topics as supporters and opponents spoke during the hearing.

The Illinois sports betting could see drastic changes this year as the committee members briefly discussed almost a dozen gaming proposals during the meeting. Besides sports betting, other issues included iGaming, video gaming machines, and horse racing.

Key Details of the Meeting

The General Assembly’s Executive Committee was chaired by state Rep. Bob Rita, one of the key backers of the 2019 capital bill that regulated sports betting in Illinois.

The committee heard fellow lawmakers, lobbyists, and various other stakeholders give positions for and against the bills that could be voted on in Springfield before this session ends in May.

Rep. Mike Zelewski said later that he believes the HB 849 discussion was thoughtful and substantive, and that he would continue to work on it with the hope of passing this session. However, regarding in-person registration, he said, “it remains an ongoing dialogue”. But he hoped it could be phased out over a period of time, while still respecting the investment land-based operators have made into Illinois communities.

In-Person Registration, the Most Contentious Issue

In-person registration requirement remains to be the most contentious issue in Illinois sports betting. Land-based casinos and some key lawmakers are seeking to maintain the original requirement that Gov. JB. Pritzker suspended it last summer, allowing bettors to register online due to the pandemic-led restrictions. That suspension continued almost throughout the last summer until the governor let this lapse earlier this month.

William Hill head of government relations Trevor Hayes and John Pappas, a spokesperson for the gaming industry trade group, proposed removing the in-person registration requirement. Both said the requirement impedes the success of the state’s sports betting industry. Hayes said 75% of wagers at the Caesars-owned company are made online, with many states posting their online handles north of 90% of the total handles.

However, some lawmakers, including the committee chair, Rep. Robert Rita, defended the original legislation that contained an 18-month in-person registration requirement period from the first retail sports betting license was issued to when the first digital-only sports betting license could be submitted to the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB).

Rita supported the original intent in order to support the land-based locations.

However, ground realities have suggested otherwise as the suspension has helped unprecedented growth in Illinois sports betting. Iowa, the neighboring state, is also a bright example to show the limitations of in-person registration. The Hawkeye State’s January handle soared to $149.5 million, with a 42.7% jump from December’s $104.8 million after the state ended its in-person registration requirement effective January 1.

Betting on Colleges

In February, the state Rep. Michael Zalewski refiled a proposal that would remove a sports betting ban on Illinois colleges. College sports betting has accounted for over 20% of Illinois’ total handle at almost $660 million despite residents not being allowed to place legal bets on football games involving in-state teams.

Last week, IGB Administrator Marcus Fruchter revealed the March Madness 2021 betting handle was a whopping $176.8 million, with $14.6 million in sportsbook revenue. It would allow the state to draw $2.1 million in taxes. Those numbers didn’t include one undisclosed operator, which means the handle will swell once the final numbers come.

Zelewski said during the meeting that Illinoisians are already betting on the schools in Illinois, if not through the Illinois sportsbooks, then by crossing the state to Indiana and Iowa to place wagers, or through illegal betting means.

“We have a provision that doesn’t do what it was originally meant to do, and we have a smaller marketplace as a result,” the lawmaker said.

However, University of Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman opposed Zelewski’s proposal on behalf of the state’s 13 NCAA Division I athletic programs.

He said student-athletes could be vulnerable to undue influence from the peers. He said the prohibition helps protect the mental health of the players by limiting negative online messages.

Related News

Arizona sports betting January handle
August 27, 2021

Fiesta Bowl Becomes First College Football Game With Sports Betting Deal

Fiesta Bowl has partnered with Caesars Entertainment, becoming the first college football game to engage in a deal with a US sports betting operator. The first-of-its-kind deal, announced Monday through […]

read more
August 3, 2020

US Senate Hearing Will Address Impact of Gambling on College Sports

One of the major concerns expressed in a Senate hearing will discuss this week whether or not to keep the integrity of college sports alive. In fact, there will be […]

read more
View of Jersey city
October 30, 2020

New Jersey Senator Proposes Bill Seeking Legalized College Sports Betting

New Jersey Senator Paul Sarlo has recently introduced a bill seeking regulated wagering on in-state college or college competitions. Sports betting is more efficient in New Jersey compared to most […]

read more
BetMGM fined NJ
March 26, 2022

BetMGM Fined $25,000 for Allowing In-State College Basketball Bets in NJ

BetMGM has been fined $25,000 for taking less than $100 worth of bets last year on New Jersey college basketball over human and technical errors. It happened on two different […]

read more
View of Jersey city
June 9, 2021

New Jersey Lawmakers Pass College Sports Betting, Casino Tax Relief Bills

New Jersey lawmakers have approved an array of gaming bills, including the one which calls for a constitutional amendment on in-state college betting. Other significant changes include financial relief for […]

read more
View of Jersey city
July 3, 2021

New Jersey Voters to Decide on College Sports Betting This November

New Jersey voters will have the opportunity in November to decide in favor of sports betting on the state’s college teams, or teams from other states playing games in the […]

read more
Governor Pritzker
April 8, 2021

Illinois In-Person Sports Betting Registration Returns

Illinois in-person registration has returned for new sports bettors, following the repeated suspension of the requirement since June 4, 2020. On Friday, Gov. JB Pritzker chose not to renew his […]

read more
Illinois March handle
June 7, 2021

Illinois House Approves ‘Limited’ In-State College Sports Betting

Illinois lawmakers approved Tuesday in-state college betting, allowing residents pregame bets at the retail sports betting locations. The state’s House sat overtime to pass Senate Bill 521 with a few […]

read more
Chicago
December 16, 2020

Illinois Sports Betting: Pritzker Again Extends Order Allowing Remote Registration

Gov. JB Pritzker has again renewed the order to maintain the status quo by provisionally allowing remote registration for sports betting in Illinois. Since June, this is the sixth time […]

read more
Des Moines Iowa
February 10, 2021

Iowa Posts Highest Sports Betting Handle in January As In-Person Requirement Ends

Iowa sports betting has posted a record-shattering handle in January, which was the first month with no in-person registration requirement. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission released the monthly figures […]

read more
September 3, 2020

Governor Reinstates Remote Registration for Illinois Sports Betting

 The new executive order by Governor J.B. Pritzker has reinstated the remote registration option for the bettors for online sports betting in Illinois. With this development, the bettors have more […]

read more
Chicago skyline
July 8, 2021

Illinois Sports Betting Remains No.2 Despite Return to In-Person Registration

Despite returning to in-person registration, Illinois posted more than $500 million in May handle to maintain its second position in the US sports betting. New Jersey is the top market […]

read more

Stay Updated & Receive Exclusive Offers

Be the first to know when new states legalize online gambling and gain access to exclusive casino and sports betting promotional offers.