FILE - Harrah's Casino, Joliet, Virus Outbreak Illinois Daily Life

A marquee sign reminds residents of Joliet, Ill., that Harrah's Casino on the Des Plaines River is closed Monday, April 6, 2020, in downtown Joliet.

(The Center Square) – New amendments made to Senate Bill 521 would give Illinois residents the ability to gamble on instate colleges.

Senate Bill 521, originally filed by Sen. Antonio Munoz, D-Chicago, passed through the House and is currently awaiting concurrence from the Senate. The bill would amend previous laws and allow for Illinoisans to gamble on in-state schools but with restrictions.

The restrictions on in-state college gambling include only being able to bet on team performances and not on any player performances. The bill also would require Illinoisans who wish to bet on an in-state school to do so in a licensed Illinois facility, Chief Co-Sponsor Rep. Robert Rita, D-Blue Island, said.

"It allows for betting on teams and not individual performances and you have to make those bets at a brick and mortar facility and not online over the internet."

The prohibition of gambling on Illinois state colleges came into the spotlight in March when the University of Illinois faced off against Loyola Chicago in college basketball's March Madness tournament.

While many in the state watched the game, they were not allowed to bet on the game. Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, who has been against the idea of gambling on in-state colleges, said he believes SB521 would be a "step forward."

"I have not been a fan of betting on Illinois college teams, but I do believe this is a half step forward, but I do believe this is a happy medium only being able to bet in person on team performance," he said.

SB521 was placed on order of concurrence by the House. If it gets approved by the Senate, the bill will go to the Governor's desk for signature.

Staff Reporter

Andrew Hensel has years of experience as a reporter and pre-game host for the Joliet Slammers, and as a producer for the Windy City Bulls. A graduate of Iowa Wesleyan University and Illinois Media School, Andrew lives in the south suburbs of Chicago.