Barstool Launches Illinois Sportsbook

Barstool Launches Illinois Sportsbook article feature image
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Brett Carlsen/Getty Images. Pictured: Barstool flag

Penn National launched its Illinois Barstool Sportsbook Thursday, bringing the popular brand to one of the nation’s fast-growing sports betting markets.

The Barstool Sportsbook app was available for iOS and android as of noon local time. It’s Barstools’ third mobile launch, following Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Thursday’s launch was Illinois’ sixth statewide mobile sportsbook, following BetRivers, FanDuel, DraftKings, William Hill and PointsBet. BetMGM, Unibet and other U.S. and international sportsbook leaders are also preparing to enter the market.

Illinois’ sports betting handle has increased each of the past eight months, reaching a record $581 million in January. Its January handle trailed only New Jersey, Nevada and Pennsylvania among all legal sports betting states.

Penn National officials said Barstool’s Chicago-focused content, podcasts and media personalities will help the sportsbook stand out in Illinois.

“As the only gaming operator with a fully integrated sports media and entertainment partner, our customers in Illinois will now be able to engage with these Barstool personalities through the online Barstool Sportsbook and enjoy their unique take on Chicago sports,” Penn National CEO Jay Snowden said in a statement.

Illinois Sports Betting Details

Barstool launches ahead of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, perennially one of the nation’s most wagered-upon events, and nearly a year after Illinois took its first retail sports bet.

Illinois law prohibits bets on in-state college teams. Barstool, and all other state sportsbooks, will not offer lines on Illinois in the 2021 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament or in next week’s March Madness tournament. Lines will also not be offered on Missouri Valley Conference champion Loyola (Chicago).

Bettors can register for all six legal Illinois sportsbooks remotely. The state’s 2019 sports betting law required in-person registration but Gov. J.B. Pritzker has overridden the requirement through a series of monthly executive orders permitting remote sign ups.

Illinois’ sweeping 2019 gaming expansion law permitted statewide mobile wagering as well as in-person wagering at certain horse tracks and professional sports stadiums. The Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field has already announced in-stadium sportsbook plans and will likely become the second such U.S. location, following Washington D.C.’s Capital One Arena.

Barstool Expansion Continues

Snowden said during a quarterly earnings call earlier this year he expects mobile Barstool sportsbooks to launch in as many as 10 states by the end of this year. Likely 2021 markets include New Jersey, Iowa, Colorado, Indiana, Tennessee and West Virginia. Snowden said Penn National’s Virginia sports betting license is pending.

Penn National is also considering possible future legalized online sports betting markets in larger-population states with high-profile professional sports teams such as Ohio, Massachusetts, Arizona, Georgia and Barstool’s home state of New York, all of which are considering 2021 sports betting bills. Penn National is also spearheading sports betting lobbying efforts in Kansas, where it operates a casino adjacent to the Kansas Motor Speedway.

“We are eager to leverage the building momentum for the Barstool Sportsbook app with our launch in Illinois and the additional launches we have planned for 2021,” Snowden said in a statement.

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