Hard Rock Casino Rockford Receives Two Licenses from the Illinois Gaming Board as Betway Gets an Online-Only Gambling License

The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) disclosed on July 27 that it had granted Hard Rock Casino in Rockford a mobile and retail gambling license to run a bookie. Also, it gave Betway a gambling-only license.

Hard Rock's Request

Hard Rock Casinos recently announced that it will rebrand its mobile app. But, it has to submit an application to the IGB to accept wagers after receiving the Management Services Provider License for sports gambling.

Reports state that the IGB made the gaming operator's four-year license for January to match its license approval date to apply for a retail license. Geno Iafrate, Hard Rock Casino Rockford's President, told Sports Handle that they are glad to offer sports gambling in The Opening Act. He appreciated the IGB's effort to help them make progress.

Even so, the company is yet to complete its internal controls. It will start employing and training workers later. Iafrate is confident they will begin accepting sports bets soon.

The IGB gave Full House Resorts a retail gambling license in June to run The Temporary in Waukegan. The gaming operator contracted Circa Sport to manage its retail and mobile betting department, which will launch early in the upcoming National Football League (NFL) season. Jeffrey Benson, Circa's Director of Operations, revealed these details in a tweet.

The Tough License Competition

Betway was one of the two operators that wanted an Illinois online-only gambling license which an applicant has to part with $20 million. The company withdrew its application in 2022 in the bids' early consideration process.

An extra bidding period followed after Tekkorp, the other bidder, withdrew from the race in October 2022. Reports state that Betway paid $22.5 million for the license after it decided to commit an extra $2.5 million in addition to the $20 million minimum license requirement.

The IGB stated that Betway fulfilled the licensure's minimum qualifications but has to complete its full vetting process before receiving the online-only Master Sports Wagering license. It initially received two bids from November 1, 2022, to March 1, 2023.

J&J LLC, J&J Ventures' subsidiary, also applied for the license. Still, it submitted an over $23 million bid.

The IGB's Administrator, Marcus Fruchter, didn't disclose J&J LLC's identity in the meeting. But he stated that it requested the board to remove its bid on July 10. The administrator added that the company removed the bid on July 24 hence leaving Betway as the only interested party.

How Is Illinois' Sports Gambling Sector Performing?

Illinois is among the five states whose sports betting handles have raked in more than $1 billion per month since the PASPA period. Still, it was the second state countrywide in the handle between February and May.

Its leading operators include Barstool Sportsbook, PointsBet, Caesars Sportsbook, BetMGM, BetRivers, FanDuel, and DraftKings.


A sports enthusiast, Ryan helps cover sports betting news from around the country, highlighting some of the more interesting events going on in the USA.