Illinois to Temporarily Allow Online Sports Betting Registrations, But No Books Are Live

Illinois to Temporarily Allow Online Sports Betting Registrations, But No Books Are Live article feature image
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Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Lovie Smith

When online betting gets going in Illinois, it will be much easier to register than originally anticipated. At least in the short term.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has suspended mandatory in-person registration for online betting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing residents to sign up directly from mobile devices.

It’s unclear when Illinois will go back to in-person only registrations, if at all.

“Governor Pritzker’s executive order allows Illinois sports fans to temporarily place wagers from the safety of their own home, protecting a revenue source that is critical as the state begins to recover from the damaging financial impact of COVID-19,” Illinois Gaming Board Administrator Marcus Fruchter said in a release. “The Illinois Gaming Board looks forward to welcoming patrons back to casinos when it is safe to do so.”

[Where Is Sports Betting Legal? Tracking All 50 States]

When Illinois initially launched sports betting in March, it gave casinos, racetracks, and sports venues an 18-month head start over online-only operators like FanDuel and DraftKings.

In-person registration was also required for those 18 months.

Casino gaming has been closed in the Prairie State since March 16 in an effort to protect patrons and staff during the coronavirus crisis.

The move should be a positive for Illinois, as it will likely save a revenue stream from falling off the table before casinos reopen.

But it likely won’t have a big impact right away. BetRivers remains the lone book that can take advantage soon, since it’s licensed already and has online platforms in other states. But it’s still not live yet.

Argosy Casino, owned by Penn National, is the other casino with a license. But Penn’s eventual player in the space, Barstool Sportsbook, hasn’t gone live in any states yet.

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The difference in revenue between in-person registration and online registration can be seen in neighboring states Iowa and Indiana.

Iowa, which requires in-person registration until early next year, boasts a revenue of $22,433,625 since September 2019. In the same time frame, Indiana’s revenue comes in at $72,419,642 after allowing online registration.

FanDuel, PointsBet, Crown IL Gaming, and American Wagering have also applied for licenses, and The Illinois Gaming Board will hold a meeting on June 11 to review them.

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