A state law on sports gambling law is making it difficult — but not impossible — for Illinois residents to bet on the University of Illinois men's basketball team when March Madness kicks off this week.
As the tournament is about to start, TheState Journal-Register in Springfield reports that when state lawmakers legalized betting on Division 1 college sports a couple years back, they included a provision that prohibits betting on any Illinois university that's playing.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has cleared the way for determined bettors to put money down on games involving the two Illinois teams in the tournament: the Fighting Illini and the Ramblers of Loyola University in Chicago.
The newspaper reports that when the pandemic hit, Illinois waived the in-person requirement to register with sportsbooks. It meant that betters can turn to online sportsbooks such as FanDuel and DraftKings — both of which look for where the bettor is and not where the bettor lives.
That means, all the bettors have to do is drive across state lines to, say Indianapolis, to put money down on one of the Illinois teams' games.
Both teams will hope to start tournament runs on Friday, as Illinois takes on Drexel and Loyola battles Georgia Tech. If both teams win, they would face-off on Sunday in the second round.