Mobile sports betting is finally live in Illinois and no one’s happier than sports lovers and punters. The Illinois sports betting industry is still in its infancy. Gov. J.B. Pritzker only signed the law that ushered legal sports betting into the state last year (2019).
Before the pandemic, brick and mortar sportsbooks were set to take off. However, that all changed with state-mandated shutdown orders that swept the nation and the world. Because sports betting was launched in the state just ahead of the cancellation of major sports in the country, the Illinois state revenue has suffered immensely.
Here is the thing that most people do not know about the sports betting rules in Illinois: they are stricter than most. Case in point, punters could only play at online sportsbooks after registering in-person with their operator of choice. Thankfully, Governor Pritzker recently issued an executive order earlier on in June temporarily removing that requirement as part of his coronavirus disaster proclamation effort.
This temporary decision was made by an administration that is looking for all sorts of ways to restore the state budget after the virus effectively blew a massive $2.7 billion hole that will be impossible to fill without the lucrative gaming revenue stream.
When sports betting was launched in the state, it gave Illinois casinos, sports venues and racetracks an 18-month head start over online-only sportsbooks like DraftKings and FanDuel. Any punters wishing to wager on sports were required to report for in-person registration, but this has all changed for the better.
What does this temporary order mean for in-state betters?
Thanks to this temporary order, betters in Illinois can now register for a betting account online and start depositing cash and putting it down in minutes. This couldn’t have happened at a better time as live sports have resumed without spectators in attendance. This executive order will allow bettors to place wagers from the comfort and safety of their homes while protecting a much-needed revenue source.
Illinois casinos are typically taxed at 15 percent of their total sports betting revenue with an extra 2% added on for casinos that manage to break ground in Cook county. 6 new casinos have also been authorized so areas such as Chicago and the suburbs in the south should expect to start betting on sports soon.
Pritzker’s administration anticipates that sports betting will soon inject more than $100 million into the state budget each year, just as long as the gambling expansion continues as planned. In the future, analysts estimate that the Illinois sports betting market could grow to beat Nevada’s with an expected handle of more than $5 billion.
The state currently boasts of 7 different casinos that have each been granted sports betting licenses in the state. However, they remain closed down. By making the regulations lax, the administration hopes that it will attract more punters to sign up and begin wagering on the available sports.
This move is also expected to draw in operators that are interested in applying for licenses in the state. Some of the biggest and most popular online sports betting operators have been closed off to the Illinois betting market as a result of the stringent regulations. But this executive order is slated to change all that. Sports arenas in the state are also welcome to apply for a sports betting license but none have made a declaration to as of yet.
It is evident that if the state intends to keep growing the industry, some sports betting laws will have to be amended in an effort to make the market more attractive to investors. The Illinois Gaming Board is in charge of the sports is responsible for the gaming industry in the state but the Governor has the power to veto any rules created.
So what options do Illinois residents have when it comes to sports wagering?
BetRivers became the first online sportsbook to launch in the state on June 18th, 2020, which was a major move for the advancement of the industry. Not only did BetRivers manage to successfully beat the competition in the race to become 1st to offer sports betting in the state, but it also became the 1st to legally offer in-person sports wagering in the state.
Since brick and mortar casinos remained closed during the pandemic, it comes as no surprise that in-state bettors flocked to BetRivers to satisfy their betting urges. 6 other casinos have since been granted licenses by the Illinois Gaming Board last week, bringing the options to 7.
Each of the newly licensed casinos can request approval from the regulatory agency to begin offering customers online betting. Some of the casinos that have been awarded sports betting license include the Hollywood Casinos in Aurora and Joliet, the Casino Queen in East St. Louis, the Grand Victoria in Elgin, as well as Par-A-Dice in East Peoria.
The licenses awarded to these casinos will last for 4 years and will be renewable for $1 million. Once the 18-month long period that gives in-state casinos the advantage is over, it is expected that other sportsbooks like FanDuel will begin operations in the state. Until then, it is the responsibility of the local casinos to attract as many customers as they can.
Punters can also choose from an array of online sports betting sites such as:
- DraftKings Illinois, which went live on August 5th, 2020. DraftKings is in partnership with the Casino Queen to offer sports betting.
- BetRivers Illinois went live on June 18th, 2020. Once or if the suspension is lifted, betters will have to appear in person to register at the Rivers Casino Des Plaines.
- PointsBet Illinois may have started operations in New Jersey but it has proven that it is a force to reckon with in the short period that it has been operational. PointsBet’s partnerships is with Hawthorne Race Course
- FanDuel Illinois, which is one of the top-grossing sportsbooks in the country. FanDuel’s deal is with Par-A-Dice.