One of the bills, SB 1508, mandates that Illinois sportsbooks display hourly pop-up messages showing total wagers. The other bill, SB 0089, extends the permission of in-person betting on in-state college teams at retail sportsbooks for an additional year.
These specific bills, out of several online gambling and problem gambling measures being considered by the Illinois Legislature, are the ones set to reach Governor J.B. Pritzker’s desk.
New requirement for sportsbooks on SB 1508
Senate Bill 1508 has finally passed in the State Senate and State House. Previously, the bill underwent multiple minor amendments and spent almost a month in the House Gaming Committee before receiving approval from the House in a 78-30 vote on May 19.
The bill requires Illinois sportsbooks to display a pop-up message after every ten online wagers, informing players about their total betting amount and providing hyperlinks and phone numbers to problem gambling resources in Illinois.
This requirement aims to facilitate access to assistance for individuals facing gambling-related issues. Governor Pritzker is highly expected to sign the bill, turning it into law.
The bill received support from the National Council on Problem Gambling. Executive director Keith Whyte finds the basic concept of using pop-up messages is effective but remains unsure if the message appearing every ten bets is enough. For some people, ten might be too low, but for others, it might be too high.
“It sounds like it was just a good round number that someone thought up, but I think it needs some research and feedback and then, more importantly, tailoring and customizing,” he said.
Whyte also noted that responsible gambling messages would have a greater effect if they appeared after a bettor’s wagering pattern changes.
Retail Betting on in-state schools extended with SB 0089
SB0089 has been passed to extend betting on in-state schools for another season, allowing pre-game, in-person wagers on Illinois schools until the 2023-24 season.
Initially unrelated to sports wagering, SB0089 gained relevance when Rep. Bob Rita introduced an amendment to extend the existing law, which was scheduled to expire on July 1, 2023.
On Wednesday, Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton took on the role of chief sponsor for SB 0089 in the Senate. The bill, which included Rita’s amendment, passed with a 6-3 margin. It received unanimous approval with a 54-0 vote in the Senate.
SB0089 differs significantly from HB4041, as it authorizes Illinois betting apps to accept Tier 1 wagers on sports events involving Illinois collegiate teams, but prop bets on individual Illinois student/athletes is still prohibited.
In 2022, the total handle for college sports wagering in Illinois reached nearly $1.4 billion, with $890.3 million attributed to Tier 1 wagers. HB4041 was a compromise by former Rep. Mike Zalewski between sports wagering operators seeking to eliminate the in-state carveout and schools advocating for its retention. To date, HB4041 remains pending in the House Rules Committee.
SB0089 will instead act as a placeholder or a temporary measure to buy lawmakers more time to address the specifics of allowing online sportsbooks for betting on in-state schools.