By DYLAN SMITH, NEWS3 Reporter
MACOMB, Illinois (NEWS3) — Betting on in-state college sports could soon become a reality. Illinois lawmakers passed legislation that would allow sportsbooks to take wagers on Illinois college teams.
When the State of Illinois legalized sports betting in 2019, it excluded college teams. The newest bill that supports collegiate betting, House Bill 3136, would reverse that decision.
The amendment makes all Illinois Division I universities eligible to be wagered on. It’s a measure that is frowned upon by college athletic administrations.
“We oppose in-state gambling,” said Danielle Suprenant, Western Illinois University Director of Athletics.
“I think when you really try to take a step back you want to make sure that you are doing everything in your power to keep the integrity of the game in the contest itself, but also to always protect the health and well-being of student athletes,” said Suprenant.
Suprenant stresses the toll it could take on a student athlete’s mental health. Suprenant is not the first college athletic director in Illinois to speak out against the amendment. Josh Whitman, University of Illinois Director of Athletics, also opposed collegiate betting.
Suprenant said that student athletes could also be susceptible to a large amount of public scrutiny and possible backlash from their own classmates.
“Now it puts our student athletes in a very different situation where they’re around individuals who could be gambling against a game they are in,” Suprenant said.
The legislation is under a sunset provision until 2023. Wagers on in-state schools would have to be made in person at casinos and limited only to the outcome of games.
The state ban on collegiate betting could be reinstated following the sunset provision if no action is made by the Illinois General Assembly.