In-State College Bets Could Come To Illinois Sportsbooks…With A Catch

Update: The bill that would allow in-state college betting on a temporary basis in Illinois has passed the state House of Representatives, and now moves to the Senate for approval. Following Senate approval, the bill moves to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker.

After well over a year of live sports betting without any in-state college lines available, Illinois is (temporarily) changing its tune

When it comes to sports betting–and sports in general–Illinois has made its fair share of decisions that make residents go “Huh?”

First, there was the in-person Illinois sports betting registration requirement, which was suspended (on and off) for almost a year, then reinstated in April of 2021

Next, the Illinois online casino bill showed that the state legislature didn’t learn anything from that confusing saga. Lawmakers once again included a temporary in-person registration requirement in the bill intended to legalize online casinos. 

Then, of course, rumors resurfaced that the Chicago Bears, after making a widely praised move in drafting Justin Fields, might pack up and move to Arlington Heights

Today, Illinois continues its longstanding tradition of overly cautious and somewhat confusing moves. Only this time, the decision actually helps bettors in the state. 

Illinois College Betting Trial Period

The Illinois legislature filed a bill into the General Assembly today that would allow limited betting on in-state college sports teams on a two-year trial basis. 

This is certainly good news for bettors, but the bill comes with a catch (even beyond the two-year trial designation). Wagers on in-state college teams would be classified as Tier 1 wagers, meaning they could only be tied to the final result of a game. This means moneylines, spreads, and totals would be fair game, but you won’t see any props or live bets for Illinois college games. 

According to the Pantagraph’s story on the bill, these wagers would also need to be placed in person, so betting at an online Illinois sportsbook is a no-go for matches that include an Illinois college sports team. 

A Predictable Reversal

Illinois isn’t the first state to introduce sports betting while prohibiting wagers on in-state schools. Many other states have done the same, including New Jersey

But of the states that do include such a ban, many have reversed course in recent years. New Jersey is already in the process of allowing bets on in-state schools such as Rutgers. Illinois is just the latest in a string of states to cautiously expand its gambling options. 

About the Author
Cole Rush

Cole Rush

Writer and Contributor
Cole Rush is an industry writer and contributor at Gaming Today. He is a Chicago-based writer in the gambling and media spaces. His work has been showcased in various gaming industry magazines and online columns. Rush also covers pop culture and books for Reactor Mag (formerly and, a sci-fi and fantasy book review site. He has more than eight years of experience writing about gambling and entertainment.

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