Fighting Illini Drawing Betting Interest
The Illinois sports betting industry continues to grow, nearly hitting the $500 million mark in total sports betting handle in December.
Those numbers could be even larger if the Illinois sports betting regulations allowed for betting on in-state college teams.
The Illinois Fighting Illini are the most popular team throughout the state, but there are other major universities as well. Football and basketball would be the biggest college betting markets, but there could be other interests as well.
The Illinois men’s basketball team is now the fifth-ranked team in the country, and it is a team that could make a serious run in the NCAA Tournament. Fans and bettors in the state have not been able to make a bet on any games during this run, and unfortunately, that will be the case in March as well.
Illinois sportsbooks are unable to offer future betting odds on in-state teams, and the Fighting Illini are a popular pick to win the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Tournament. Illinois has odds as low at +1000 earlier this week at FanDuel Sports, one of the top sportsbooks in the US, but those odds cannot be found in the state.
Loyola University-Chicago is also expected to be included in the field of 68 teams announced on Selection Sunday, and they made a surprising run to the Final Four just a few years ago. Both teams would draw some interest in the futures market, but those are off the table in the Land of Lincoln.
Lawmakers have recently introduced a bill to change the current in-state college betting rule, but that bill has not made a significant process. Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman has been an outspoken opponent about this type of betting being allowed.
Other states have similar laws in place, while some allow for betting on all collegiate sporting events. Protecting the integrity of the event is a major concern of the NCAA, but at some point, the rules are going to be changed.
Online Casino Bill Introduced
With the success of the sports betting industry in Illinois, lawmakers are now hoping to bring in additional revenue through an online casino bill. Representative Bob Rita recently filed HB3142, and it has already drawn plenty of support from other lawmakers.
Online casino gaming is not quite as prevalent throughout the United States as sports betting, but that is starting to change. Michigan just recently rolled out online casino and online poker, and the state had tremendous success.
If this bill is passed, in-person registration would be required for the first six months after launch. In-person registration is supposed to be in place for sports betting, but Governor JB Pritzker continues to extend his Executive Order that allows remote registration.
Several of the IL online sportsbook apps could easily add online casino gaming to their apps, as they have already done so in other markets. Illinois continues to look for ways to eliminate the budget deficit, and online casino gambling could provide additional financial help.
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