An amendment filed in the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday would do away in March with the in-person registration required to access mobile sports betting apps if the bill is passed during this week’s veto session.
The amendment to HB 3136, sponsored by Sen. Bill Cunningham, establishes March 5 as the date to end the in-person provision requirement that was part of the gaming expansion bill Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law in June 2019. It passed unanimously out of the Executive Committee on Wednesday afternoon and could be brought to the Senate floor for a vote since the bill is currently on second reading.
The veto session for the General Assembly ends Thursday.
The law as currently written calls for the end of in-person registration after the first online-only license is issued by the Illinois Gaming Board. The state agency can begin accepting applications for three such licenses in early December, which marks the end of the 540-day period from when the first retail sports wagering licenses were awarded by the IGB.
State law gives the IGB 90 days to award the online-only licenses, but the agency also has the discretion to extend that timeline, which is the impetus for establishing date-certain language. HB 3136 contains much of the same language from SB 521, which overwhelmingly passed in the House in the final days of the regularly scheduled legislative session in May but failed to be brought up in the Senate.
House bill doubling as vehicle for SB 521
Like SB 521, the new House bill includes a partial removal of the ban on betting on in-state colleges and universities in Illinois, allowing for pre-game wagers made only in-person at retail sportsbooks. It also makes Wintrust Arena — home of the recently crowned WNBA champion Chicago Sky — eligible to apply for a sports wagering license issued to a sports facility.
HB 3136 also contains “harmonizing language” to help the IGB streamline its due diligence processes as it faces a substantial workload beyond the scope of sports wagering. In addition to legalizing sports wagering, Pritzker’s bill also awarded six new casino licenses, with two locations — Rockford and Williamson County — beyond the “preliminary suitable” phase.
The IGB heard presentations from North Point and Full House Resorts this month for a proposed casino in Waukegan and will hear final public presentations from Wind Creek and South Suburban Development for the Southland Cook County license Thursday. Additionally, the deadline for operators making Request for Proposals to the city of Chicago for the downtown casino license is Friday.