After much anticipation, the Barstool Sportsbook app will launch on Thursday in Illinois. The launch was announced on Tuesday morning, and it could not come at a better time for Barstool or Penn National Gaming.
Despite having just five online betting options, Illinois has grown into the fourth-largest sports betting market in the United States. Barstool will be the sixth option, and more are on the way in 2021 and beyond.
Barstool is expected to be live at noon on Thursday, but the app can already be downloaded in Illinois. New customers are eligible to receive $10 in site credit when signing up for a new account.
Illinois will be the third sports betting market for Barstool Sportsbook, but that number could climb as high as 10 by the end of 2021. Penn National Gaming has been aggressive in rolling out the sportsbook app since acquiring 36 percent of the company in 2020.
Remote Registration Extended
One factor that should help Barstool get off to a strong start in Illinois is that remote registration is available through March. Illinois has an in-person registration requirement in place, but that has not been the case since early Summer.
Governor J.B. Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-41 in June to jumpstart the sports betting industry as retail sportsbooks were shut down due to COVID-19. That Executive Order has been extended several times, and remote registration could become a permanent rule change in Illinois.
Already a Hit in Michigan
The Barstool Sportsbook app was a huge hit in Michigan, even though 10 other online betting options were launched at the same time. The Barstool Sportsbook has partnered with the Greektown Casino in Detroit, one of three commercial casinos in the state.
The Barstool app saw more than 48,000 new customers in the first 10 days after the launch, and it brought in over $27 million in betting handle. That debut was nearly double what took place when Barstool went live in Pennsylvania, and the numbers are expected to be even bigger in Illinois.
Barstool Sports personalities will be making several promotional videos to help the launch in Illinois, and the already strong following should make it a strong presence in the Land of Lincoln.
Illinois Exploring Online Casino Gambling
The success of the online sports betting industry in Illinois has some lawmakers looking to legalize another form of iGaming as well. Online casino gaming just recently launched in Michigan, and that has put some pressure on Illinois to explore that option as well.
Representative Bob Rita filed House Bill 3142 in February. That bill seeks to authorize online casino gambling, and the Illinois Gaming Board would regulate that industry, too. The bill hasn’t seen significant discussion in the State legislature, though with the success of online sports betting, the bill should gain traction in the coming months.
Most of the online sports betting options in Illinois could add an online casino to their apps with little effort.