Illinois Awards Licenses to 7 Casinos

state seal illinois

On Thursday, the Illinois Gaming Board held their first meeting since January of this year. During the meeting, IGB awarded sports betting licenses to seven casinos across the state. The approvals are a big step forward for sports betting on growing in Illinois.

IGB approved sportsbooks in Alton, Elgin, Aurora, Joliet, Des Plaines, East St. Louis, and East Peoria. However, sports bettors will remain sidelined. Illinois is in Phase 3 of reopening the state due to the Coronavirus. Casinos are not allowed to open until Phase 4.

Despite seven casinos getting approval for sportsbooks, none of them will have a mobile platform set up. The state has an 18-month “penalty box” period before sportsbooks can operate on a mobile device.

Illinois Sports Betting Problem

Like anything with Illinois politics, there are a lot of hoops to jump through, including sports betting. IGB approving seven casinos for sportsbooks is an excellent thing for the state.

Also, Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order that allowed sports bettors to register their accounts online instead of in-person. The order enables more people to create an account while the Coronavirus has casinos shut down.

However, this doesn’t mean bettors are in the clear. Illinois has an 18-month grace period before mobile betting will launch. The 630-day clock did start for the seven casinos that have approval for sports betting licenses. When the “penalty box” period ends for the sportsbooks, the IGB will choose who gets mobile access and who doesn’t.

The “penalty box” was ultimately designed, so big U.S. sportsbooks like DraftKings and FanDuel couldn’t come in take business away from local casinos and sportsbooks. The “penalty box period” was supposed to help give local Illinois sportsbooks a jump start in the newly launched industry. Also, once the grace period is over, mobile sportsbooks would have to pay a $20 million license fee.

In theory, this is great for the local sportsbooks. However, this also hamstrings sports bettors by being unable to place bets in the near future. Illinois continues to take steps in the right direction for sports betting. However, the state also added their obstacles to make the process longer for Illinois sports bettors.

What Can Illinois Bettors Do?

Right now, not much.

Illinois is doing everything in its power to speed up the process. The state has lost a ton of gaming revenue due to the shutdown. The one-time licensing fees help the state some, but with casinos capped at $10 million each, there’s still a large hole in the budget.

However, there is hope for Illinois bettors. Sportsbooks can file for a request to launch a mobile betting service. As soon as the sportsbooks are operating, the IGB can start approving mobile betting. Right now, there is no timetable on when the first sportsbooks will be running. Also, no sportsbooks have looked for mobile betting approval from the state.

Still, the state inches closer to get sports betting up and running. The pandemic certainly helps them out. For now, Illinois bettors need to register their accounts and wait patiently for launch.

I fell in love with handicapping right away. Sports betting is a lot more enjoyable when going through advanced data to find an edge on a Vegas line. Situational plays is a focus of mine and study stats and data analytics to go along with certain situations to make myself a more well rounded capper. College football and college basketball are my favorite to bet.

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