Surprise, surprise. Governor J.B. Pritzker has again extended his Executive Order to remove the in-person registration requirement for the sports betting industry. Pritzker first issued the order in June 2020, and it has been a near-monthly ritual to extend it.
With the March Madness Tournament set to begin next week, there was no chance Pritzker was going to let the order expire. March could be another record-setting month for the Illinois sports betting industry, but limiting betting registration to in-person only would’ve slowed the rapid growth Illinois is seeing.
Executive Order 2020-41 will now be set to expire on April 3, which is the weekend of the NCAA Tournament Final Four. If history is any indication, Pritzker will step up before that date and once again extend the online registration period.
Lawmakers in Illinois continue to look to make some changes to the current sports betting rules and regulations, and the registration requirements could be among future changes. The current law requires in-person registration for 18 months after the first bet was placed, but that rule is no longer needed.
Still No Betting on Illini
While Pritzker has once again boosted the online sports betting industry, he was unable to do something about another interesting rule. Bettors in Illinois are unable to bet on the Fighting Illini, or any in-state college team, in the NCAA Tournament.
Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman is one of the biggest supporters of prohibiting betting on in-state college athletic events. He, and other university leaders, believe that allowing for this form of betting could create some potential problems which would ruin the integrity of the sport.
Illinois and Loyola-Chicago are both in the Top 25.
Barstool Ready to Launch
There are still just five online sportsbooks in the state of Illinois, but that number is expected to change by the start of March Madness. Barstool Sportsbook is coming to Illinois, and registration is now available through the mobile app.
Barstool Sportsbook is the sports betting arm of Penn National Gaming and is currently available in Pennsylvania and Michigan. That company plans to roll out Barstool Sportsbook in 10 new states by the end of 2021, with Illinois being the first.
New customers who sign up for an account are eligible to receive a $10 site credit that will be waiting there when accessing an account for the first time.
Casinos Still Facing Restrictions
Some states throughout the country have started to lift COVID-19 restrictions entirely, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon in Illinois. Governor Pritzker has taken a very aggressive approach when looking to stop the COVID-19 spread, and he believes that there is still a danger present.
The number of positive COVID-19 cases each day has significantly dropped over the last few weeks, but Illinois has also had a tough time getting the COVID-19 vaccinations distributed.
In-person betting will be available at most retail sportsbooks in the Land of Lincoln, but online betting is expected to remain the most popular option.