Illinois could lift ban on in-state college sports betting

In what could prove to be a monster decision here by local lawmakers, it’s looking like Illinois could lift the ban on in-state college sports betting in the near future. We don’t have to tell you how big this would be for Illinois sports betting as a whole, as countless folks have been calling for this decision to be flipped ever since betting was first made legal in the state.

As things stand, while sports betting indeed is legal in Illinois, folks aren’t allowed to bet on the in-state college teams. This has been a major bummer for so many fans around the year. In the fall, placing wagers on college football is one of the most fun activities. You’ve seen the millions and millions of dollars that are placed through the different NCAA football betting sites.

Yet, people in Illinois haven’t been able to place wagers on the Illini or Northwestern. These are two Big Ten schools we’re talking about here, yet fans of these teams inside the state haven’t been able to bet on them. Yet, they’ve been able to take a look at the different odds on the best-rated online sportsbooks for Alabama, LSU, and the other powerhouses out there and put money on the line?

With this, the bill will now head to Governor J.B. Pritzker’s desk for further evaluation. Keep in mind here that the state senate passed the bill 44-12, while it was 100-11 in the house. This tells you that the majority of people are in favor of the ban being lifted. It will ultimately come down to Pritzker and his team to decide whether or not betting on the local sports team will be a benefit to the public.

There are still folks against in-state college sports betting

As exciting as things are with the next steps potentially being taken, there are still folks against in-state college sports betting right now. Before sports betting was made legal in Illinois in 2019, the main concession for things to go through was for there to be no betting on non-professional players in the state. People didn’t want money to be going on amateur athletes, which makes some sense.

With that said, why in the world would people be allowed to bet on other teams, but not the student-athletes that a lot of people would be going to see live and in person. You can’t argue that betting on games makes things even more fun when you’re in attendance. However, it would also put added pressure on the players too. University of Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman has made this clear.

“By allowing people in our state to bet on our own student-athletes, we’re only opening the door and inviting people to have those intense, threatening, abusive interactions that already take place on social media,” Whitman said as part of his long message as to why he thinks allowing college sports betting in Illinois would be a massive mistake.

What’s important to note with this bill, however, is that people wouldn’t be allowed to bet on the individual performances of a player. In the NFL for example, you can bet on how many yards a quarterback might throw for, or if a certain player will end up scoring a touchdown. This new bill only allows for people to place wagers on the overall outcomes of the game, not what a certain person does.

When will betting on college sports be made legal?

As soon as this news broke, countless folks have been asking themselves when will betting on college sports be made legal? It all comes down to what the governor decides, but the expectation is that he’ll sign the bill and allow for things to be changed immediately. Once it does go into effect, though, people will have to make their bets in person and they won’t be able to make wagers online.

That’s a big part of the plan. At the same time, this will only, for now, be a temporary change. The bill would then be revisited on July 1, 2023. Then, betting on sports could either be extended for everyone to enjoy, or the bill could be revealed and things would come to a close. The hope for many there, though, is that things will get signed off and stay in place for the long haul. College sports are that big.

While the fall football season is a great time to check odds and make bets, don’t forget about how big college basketball is around the country either. The March Madness tournament brings in so much money. The Illinois basketball team is outstanding and they seem poised to always go on a deep run in the tournament for the men. Imagine how many bets would come in on the team once the season starts.

This is something that lawmakers are surely keeping in mind. There’s a lot of money to be made for the state, and there’s also a lot of money to be won by sports fans all over the place. It’s looking like the college sports betting ban will come to an end soon. This is the kind of news people across the state really have been waiting for.

Peter Lewis

Peter Lewis Jr. comes from Mississippi where he and his family spend their days discussing college football and basketball. He's written sports journalism for years after studying journalism at a local university.