Sports bettors in the Chicagoland area now have a location to bet on sports after PointsBet has launched retail sports betting at Hawthorne Park. Hawthorne Park is located just 10 miles from downtown Chicago and is one of four retail sports betting locations set to open from PointsBet.
The Australian-based operator was able to form a partnership with Hawthorne Park earlier in the year, giving them access to the state. Hawthorne Park has been shut down due to the ongoing pandemic, but races are set to be run this weekend as well.
The current PointsBet Sportsbook is just a temporary solution until the brand new project is complete. Hawthorne Park is currently undergoing a massive $400 million casino development project that will include a state of the art PointsBet Sportsbook.
That project is still awaiting final regulatory approval, but it is not expected to open until late in 2021. The new PointsBet Sportsbook will feature over 60 HDTVs and on-site entertainment for guests to enjoy while they place sports bets.
PointsBet is also set to launch retail sports betting at three other Hawthorne Park off-track-betting locations in the coming weeks. These locations are in Crestwood, Oakbrook Terrace, and Prospect Heights.
The sports betting industry in Illinois is growing quickly, and launching a retail sportsbook near Chicago is a massive new step.
Mobile Betting Taking Over Illinois
The state of Illinois was expecting that retail sports betting would lead the industry, at least for the first 18 months. Illinois lawmakers set an in-person registration requirement in the initial bill, and that rule was in place when the industry launched on March 9.
As the coronavirus pandemic shut down all casinos throughout Illinois, the entire sports betting industry was ended as well. Illinois was looking for some additional revenue, forcing Governor JB Pritzker to make some changes to the industry.
Earlier this summer, Pritzker removed the in-person requirement, paving the way for the mobile sports betting industry to take over. BetRivers was the first mobile sportsbook to launch and was the only one to take advantage of the initial mobile registration period.
The mobile registration period has now been extended two more times by the governor, allowing the mobile industry to flourish in Illinois. PointsBet was the fourth mobile sportsbook to launch in Illinois, and there are now five total mobile betting options.
The in-person registration requirement is set to go back in effect in mid-October unless it gets extended for a fourth time. Even if that requirement takes effect, the five mobile betting apps in Illinois are all off to a much better start than expected.
PointsBet Partnering With Bears
Near the end of September, PointsBet announced that it had reached a deal with the Chicago Bears. PointsBet is now the official sports betting partner of the Chicago Bears, and the “Monsters of the Midway” are the most popular team in the state.
PointsBet will now have access to all trademarks and logos from the Chicago Bears, and the sports betting operator can use that across all sports betting operators. PointsBet will also receive promotional opportunities inside of Soldier Field in the coming years.
The National Football League allowed its teams to seek out partnerships with sports betting operators earlier this year, but only a handful of teams have taken advantage of this up to this point.
PointsBet has taken this partnership one step further by hiring former Bears star, Devin Hester, as a spokesperson for the company. Hester is the best kick returner in NFL history, and he was beloved by Bears fans during his playing career.