Illinois Lifting In-Person Sign-Up Requirement for Online Sports Betting

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In Illinois? You can finally download and place a bet at whatever sportsbook app they'd like without having to leave the couch.

A rule that required bettors in Illinois to register in person at a casino before placing online bets expired March 5, just in time for one of the biggest sports betting events of the year.

Bettors can now freely shop around for the best lines on college basketball conference tournaments ahead of March Madness, which should be chock full of various promotions at the seven sportsbooks live in the state.

It should boost an already robust market in Illinois, which ranks among the top-four states all-time in handle, gaming revenue and taxes.

BetMGM and Caesars will join the books already live in the Land of Lincoln:

FanDuel and BetMGM are expected to go live shortly after midnight Saturday, while the others could come in the morning or are currently unknown.

Those betting on any of the Illinois' 13 Division I college basketball teams will still have to travel to bet in-person at a retail sportsbook, which do not offer live-betting or player props on in-state collegiate games.

Illinois initially created an 18-month window with in-person signups only to give land-based operators, like BetRivers, a head start on online books like DraftKings and FanDuel.

The in-person requirement was waived by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on a month-by-month basis — as the state's casinos and retail sportsbooks shut their doors during the height of the pandemic — before resuming in April 2021. A few months later lawmakers decided to get rid of the requirement for good, officially sunsetting it by March 5, 2022.

The legislative tweak follows laws passed in Iowa and Rhode Island, which, up until several months into their online launches, had also required in-person registration. Nevada is the only remaining state with the requirement.

More than 47 million Americans bet on March Madness in 2021, making it the most bet on collective sporting event of the year, according to the American Gaming Association.

Illinois online sports betting is taxed at middle-of-the-pack 15% rate, which funds state infrastructure projects, including schools and recreational facilities.

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