Illinois Cancels In-Person Registration

The Illinois General Assembly passed HB 3136 in October 2021, and it came into law on March 5, 2022. This date marked the end of the in-person registration law requiring bettors to visit a retail sportsbook to sign up and place bets. Now, you can register and place wagers from anywhere in IL. 

This legislative change comes just in time for March Madness, the annual college basketball tournament that takes the nation’s attention for the whole of the month. People in Illinois can legally bet on most college basketball games online, meaning this could be a huge betting month for the state. 

Our experts have looked at what this change in legislation means for betting in Illinois. Read on to discover the effects of HB 3136, estimates for March Madness betting in Illinois, and more. 

Previous Sportsbook Registration Rules

Illinois allowing mobile legalizing mobile registration is a big deal because of the state’s unique rules when it first legalized online wagering. SB 600 passed in June 2019 and legislated the launch of retail and online sportsbooks. However, you needed to visit a brick-and-mortar location to register an account.

The first Illinois sportsbook launched at Rivers Casino Des Plaines in March 2020. This was just as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold of the US, and lockdowns began. That meant before it even got a chance to get going, the retail sportsbook had to close. It also meant March Madness 2020 was called off.

Rivers Casino was ready to offer mobile betting by June 2020, so Pritzker suspended the law requiring in-person registration. This allowed players to sign-up with online sportsbooks during the pandemic months. This law was reintroduced in April 2021 when the pandemic was starting to pass.

HB 3136 got rid of these regulations once more, meaning if you have an internet connection in Illinois, you can bet. You just have to be of legal gambling age, and you can use sportsbook apps to place wagers from your home or wherever you have a connection.

College Sports Betting Laws in the US 

The US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, meaning each state could legalize online sports betting of its own accord. That means every state has different regulations for mobile wagering, as shown by Illinois’ in-person registration laws. However, this is also the same for college sports betting.

For example, betting on college teams based in the state or games held in the state is illegal in New Jersey. You can place bets on any team in Colorado but can’t place prop bets. In Michigan, there are no college betting restrictions. 

Previously, betting on college teams based in Illinois was illegal. HB 3136 brought in measures allowing players to wager on in-state teams at retail locations. That means for the first time, if an Illinois college team reaches March Madness, people in the Prairie State can place bets on it by visiting a retail sportsbook. 

The Importance of March Madness Betting

It’s no coincidence that sports betting in Illinois originally launched in March 2020 and that this new regulation has come into effect in the same month in 2022. March Madness is one of the most popular sporting events in the US, and the college basketball tournament will draw lots of attention from sports fans and bettors.

Mobile registration in IL will make it even easier for players to sign-up and place bets, which may encourage more casual sports fans to give it a try. Many bettors will be eager to wager on the local Illinois Fighting Illini but will have to visit retail sportsbooks to do so. 

It’s not just legal changes that have come with March Madness. BetMGM, one of the most popular sportsbooks in the US, will be available in time for the big event. Launching an online sportsbook takes considerable logistical and financial effort, and companies only do this with profit in mind. This all points to how popular March Madness betting in Illinois could be. 

Illinois Hopeful for Record-Breaking Month

Illinois is not the first state to coordinate a major change in its sports betting laws with a major sporting event. New York launched its mobile sports betting in January 2022 to coincide with the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl LVI. GeoComply, which handles the geolocation services for many of the most popular sportsbooks, estimated that 25% of mobile sports wagers on the Super Bowl came from New York. 

While Illinois is not expecting the kind of record-breaking numbers that New York has handled in its first few months, reinstating mobile registration should boost the sports betting industry. Experts are predicting that this change, and the arrival of BetMGM, may produce a record-breaking month for wagering in Illinois. The hope is that this will help Illinois become one of a handful of states in the US to have handled $1 billion in a single month. 

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