Illinois Pulls Quick One, Ends Online Registration for Sports Betting Accounts

Nothing seems to make sense in our world anymore. Businesses have shut down with little hope of returning, the Major League Baseball season is now in jeopardy, and it seems like we’re all struggling to agree on anything. 

We can all agree that the state of Illinois made a massive mistake in the way it does business with sports betting. Almost every state in the country has online registration for new sports betting accounts – and Illinois did up until Sunday. Governor J.B. Pritzker ended that level of easiness, making retail casino locations the only place where customers can register for a new account. 

Also, Illinois took sports like golf, Korean baseball, and NASCAR off the list of betting offerings entirely. 

Why Did Illinois Stop Online Sports Betting Registration?

That’s a great question, glad you asked. The better question would be why Gov. Pritzker wants people to go to a place of business during a pandemic. That decision is one of the more questionable calls (to say the least) under his watch. 

There was an Executive Order 2020-41 that was legal for online registration on mobile sports betting. Due to the coronavirus pandemic shutting down businesses, Gov. Pritzker made the executive order to enforce social-distancing. 

Recently, Gov. Pritzker released a new Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation that features several items that would get Illinois back in a positive place financially. The Executive Order 2020-41 that allowed online registration for sports betting accounts was noticeably left off the initiative. 

One of the more significant problems in this whole dilemma is that there aren’t many sportsbooks in Illinois that are even open. Residents may have to drive up to five hours to reach the nearest in-state sportsbook to register for mobile sports betting. Illinois seems to be promoting being in public even amid the pandemic. 

More to the Story? 

Speculation also believes that Gov. Pritzker wants to protect Rush Street Interactive, which owns Rivers Casino-Des Plaines and the BetRivers mobile sports betting app. Currently, the latter is the only one that has a mobile sports betting platform. 

If you remember a few months back, the deal with DraftKings was delayed to give the home-state apps a chance to make big bucks right out of the gate. 

DraftKings in Illinois

The timing of Gov. Pritzker’s ruling could not have been any worse for DraftKings, which was just about to enter the Illinois sports betting market. The upcoming partnership with Casino Queen was to launch online sports betting, and the company even had a whole rebranding ready to begin with the opening. 

Now, everything is in a state of flux. The MLB was a trendy wagering item over the weekend, but baseball is now in danger of continuing with members of the Marlins testing positive for COVID. Two games were canceled on Monday, and now we’ll all sit back and watch how that plays out. 

DraftKings and FanDuel had plans to launch in July, with PointsBet even getting in on the action. A source within the industry said his company has already spent plenty of time – and money – trying to figure out the dilemma in Illinois. Another said his company is excited to move forward, but their hands are tied until the Illinois Gaming Board makes a final decision. 

Moving Forward

It’s anyone’s guess how things will play out moving forward. Hopefully, enough people already signed up for accounts before last night’s decision was made. Illinois’ decision to ban online registering sure seems to come at a weird time when the NHL and NBA are also starting to ramp up.  

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.