The state of Illinois legalized sports betting during the summer of 2019, but it took the state a long time to launch the industry. Sports betting was officially legalized during March 2020, but the shutdown of major live sports put a huge hurt on the industry.
Illinois has also been one of the most aggressive states when it comes to shutting down non-essential businesses, and that remains the case through the first full week of June. The shutdown has had a huge impact on the state’s sports betting, and the state is suffering through a major financial crisis.
With that in mind, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has announced some major changes to the sports betting rules to get more people signed up to place wagers. Illinois has been reluctant to authorize mobile sports betting, but it appears that things are starting to change in the state.
Governor Pritzker issued an order late on Thursday night to remove one of the biggest restrictions on mobile sports betting. Pritzker is willing to suspend the requirements to register in-person and will allow sports bettors to sign up at a sportsbook remotely.
This new declaration will only be in effect while casinos remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s unclear how long that will last in the state of Illinois. Casinos have been shut down for more than two months, and Illinois continues to have some of the most restrictive laws when it comes to combating the disease.
Illinois legalized sports betting close to a year ago, but they placed some strict regulations on online operators. The state implemented a rule stating that customers must register in-person for the first 18 months after the first betting license was approved.
Indiana and Iowa also created similar laws when launching their own sports betting industry, but it took those states just a few months to launch their industry. The long delay in Illinois has created an even larger gap between sports betting and when online operators can begin taking new customers in the state.
Pritzker Hoping to Bring More Business
Governor Pritzer is looking for new ways to bring in new business with all casinos shut down throughout the state of Illinois. Canceling the 18-month waiting period for online operators should bring plenty of new sports betting customers to the state.
BetRivers.com Sportsbook was the only online sportsbook up and running before the shutdown of casinos in the state, and it remains that way until this date. Pritzker is hoping to create some more business by allowing registering for a sportsbook outside of the casino.
There are currently seven casinos in Illinois that have a sportsbook application, and they are all looking to attract new customers.
Illinois Gaming Board Set to Meet
The Illinois Gaming Board has also announced that a meeting will take place next week. This is the first time that the IGB will meet since January, and the meeting will be held in a virtual format.
The public is invited to stream the meeting, but it is unclear what will be on the agenda for the Gaming Board. The state is expected to review several sports betting licenses over the next few weeks, but it’s unclear if that will take place during this meeting.
The Governor’s announcement comes at a strange time because it appears that it was made without Illinois Gaming Board approval. The Illinois Gaming Board has received plenty of criticism since sports betting was legalized, and it will be interesting to see what is discussed at this meeting.