On Thursday, Governor of Illinois J.B. Pritzker issued an order allowing sports bettors to register online for mobile gaming. The order came as casinos remained closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The new order will help jump-start the Illinois sports betting industry that went live on March 9. Casinos had to shut down the following week, delaying the early growth in Illinois sports gaming.
Despite the slow start to Illinois sports betting, the new order will help relaunch in the state’s new industry. Sports bettors will be able to set up their accounts, so they can start betting as soon as possible.
Illinois Sports Betting Restart
Gov. Pritzker’s new order will help bring in sports betting revenue instantly. With casinos closed, sports bettors weren’t able to register for a mobile sports betting account.
In Illinois, sports bettors had to create an account through a brick and mortar sportsbook if they wanted a mobile account. This is because when Illinois passed their sports betting law, it gave brick and mortar sportsbook and 18-month period before mobile retailers could come in and open shop.
The 18-month grace period helped local casinos grow their customer base before places like FanDuel Sportsbook, or DraftKings Sportsbook came into the market. The order came at the right time, as European sports leagues start back up, and bettors look overseas for action.
However, only BetRivers.com Sportsbook in DesPlaines was the only sportsbook operating before COVID-19 hit. The newly launched sportsbook is running on a temporary license and will need to apply for a permanent one when it expires.
Does This Change Anything?
Not Quite. Right now, there aren’t any mobile sportsbook operators in Illinois. The sportsbooks that are operating, and soon to be running are doing so on temporary licenses. Due to the 18-month “penalty box” period, mobile sportsbooks need to wait until 2021 before they can set up shop in Illinois.
Even for local retailers, only one sportsbook was operating before the statewide shutdown. None of the other sportsbooks have applied for sports gaming licenses. Also, sportsbooks still need to apply for mobile sports betting. On June 11, The Illinois Gaming Board scheduled its first meeting since January.
One thing this could help keep some revenue in the state. Indiana and Iowa have already passed and launched sports betting in their respective states. Indiana has the Horshoe Hammond about 23 miles from Chicago, which has one of the top sportsbooks in the state. Also, Iowa has five sportsbooks along the Illinois-Iowa boarder.
There are pros and cons to the order Gov. Pritzker passed. One positive note is that Illinois sports bettors can register their accounts and make deposits for future betting. However, there are many more cons.
Sportsbooks still need to wait for 18-months to launch mobile sports betting in Illinois. Sports bettors will need to wait until 2021 and 2022 before mobile betting is up and running. Illinois can potentially lose more revenue as some people will not want to wait that long for mobile betting to start.
Mobile betting is coming to Illinois; it’s just going to be awhile.