In-State College Odds On Mobile Apps Could Be Coming To Illinois With New Bill

Written By Giovanni Shorter on May 2, 2023
College Betting Bill Illinois Sportsbooks

Illinois lawmakers are currently deliberating HB 4041, a measure to expand college sports betting options at Illinois sportsbooks. Currently, mobile betting apps are barred from offering odds on local collegiate teams in Illinois. Only retail sportsbooks can host these odds. This measure would see in-state college betting available statewide on mobile apps in Illinois.

Illinois College Betting Expansion Explained

The measure would amend the current regulations for online sportsbooks in the Prairie State. This would remove language that specifically mentions in-person betting as the requirement for Illinois collegiate teams. The synopsis is as follows:

“Amends the Sports Wagering Act. Provides that a licensee (rather than until July 1, 2023, a licensee) under the provisions may accept a wager for a sports event involving an Illinois collegiate team if the wager is a tier 1 wager and the wager is not related to an individual athlete’s performance. Removes language providing that a licensee may accept a wager for a sports event involving an Illinois collegiate team if the wager is made in person instead of over the Internet or through a mobile application.”

HB 4041

This isn’t the first time lawmakers attempted to push for in-state collegiate betting on mobile apps. In 2021, lawmakers passed a bill to allow for a trial run for wagering on local teams. Pushback came from universities and a compromise was made to allow only in-person wagers on in-state programs.

With more than 90% of the Illinois market being dominated by online betting, it is understandable why lawmakers wish to revisit this with the new measure. However, the same opposition from local universities exists.

University Athletics Push Back On Measure

During a hearing discussing the bill, Athletic Director Josh Whitman of the University of Illinois spoke against the measure. Whiteman represented all 13 ADs in Illinois. His message: the local programs will be at risk if the bill passes.

“Our athletic programs bear 100% of the risk of the decisions that you all are making,” he said. “By implementing more broad-based in-state collegiate sports gambling, the people who are placed at risk are our student athletes, our university students and the integrity of our contests. Yet there’s no resources there to help us address how to mitigate some of those risks.”

Whitman also cited incidents of local athletes being victims of online abuse and ridicule from hostile fans. Instead of expanding in-state college betting, Whitman advocated for the end of it altogether. His concerns are certainly something the legislature will discuss as the measure makes its way through the House.

“These are kids,” said Whitman. “They’re years removed from their high school prom. And all of a sudden they’re being placed at the center of this environment that you’re creating for them, not us.”

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Giovanni Shorter

Giovanni Shorter is a sports enthusiast and writer with a passion for the legal and industry side of the sports betting market. Giovanni got his education from Florida State University where he honed his writing style writing narratives and short stories. He has spent his professional career covering sports and entertainment through articles and blogs and continues to look at the industry from multiple angles.

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