Illinois considers lifting ban on college sports betting

Bill HB 0849 was presented by Representative Mike Zalewski.
Bill HB 0849 was presented by Representative Mike Zalewski.

Lawmakers in Illinois are thinking about lifting the state’s prohibition on wagering on games involving in-state colleges and universities.

US.- The House Executive Committee of Illinois has begun discussing a bill that would lift the state’s prohibition on gambling on in-state college and university sports.

Representative Mike Zalewski, who presented bill HB 0849, said: “The prohibition on betting on Illinois collegiate sports teams was put into the law “at the behest of the universities.”

Zalewski has drafted an amendment to his bill which would allow any college to ask the Illinois Gaming Board for the suspension of betting if any student-athlete would be affected.

He said: “If there are, in fact, instances of harassment and a petition is filed, that would both draw the immediate reaction necessary to cease the behavior and then when bettors realize there could no longer be bets. It would send out the public-relations signal that there needs to be a better form of behavior.”

The representative’s proposal has its opponents. University of Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman is against the new bill. He said crossing the border to gamble is “easier said than done.

Whitman who represents13 Division I schools in the state, said: “By allowing people in our state to bet on our own student athletes, we’re only opening the door and inviting people to have those intense, threatening, abusive interactions with our student athletes and that’s something that myself and my colleagues strongly oppose.”

“While students choose to be part of that environment, “what they haven’t made a choice to do is have somebody lose $1,000 if they miss a free throw or drop a pass and then take really nasty shots at them on social media.”

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Illinois regulation sports betting