The Illinois sports betting industry continues to grow, and the state just saw its fourth mobile sports betting operator launch this weekend. PointsBet Sportsbook is now up and running in Illinois, but the company has only launched its mobile option for now.
PointsBet is a company based out of Australia, but they have had little trouble breaking into the United States market. PointsBet was first launched in the state of New Jersey, but have expanded throughout the country.
Illinois is now the fourth state where PointsBet is live and the third state in the Midwest. PointsBet also offers sports betting in both Indiana and Iowa, two other markets that are seeing growth.
Illinois legalized sports betting last June, but it has taken the state a long time to get things up and running. The state officially launched sports betting on March 9, but the coronavirus pandemic shut things down almost immediately.
Casinos have reopened throughout Illinois, but there hasn’t been a ton of action at the retail sportsbooks. Online sportsbooks have brought in the most betting handle and revenue, and PointsBet hopes to take advantage of this trend.
PointsBet has partnered with Hawthorne Race Course, and that deal was announced just a few weeks after sports betting was legalized in Illinois. It has taken these two companies some time to get things up and running, but PointsBet was able to launch on Saturday.
Hawthorne owns and operates four different locations in Illinois, and PointsBet is set to offer retail sports betting at all of them. PointsBet will have a substantial geographical advantage over some of its competitors, as all of these properties are located near Chicago.
Illinois was expected to become a massive player in the sports betting industry as the state is full of popular professional sports franchises. At some point, the city of Chicago will also be getting some retail sportsbooks, but that has not been the case up to this point.
Mobile Registration Still Allowed
Illinois initially required in-person registration when signing up for new sports betting accounts. This was done in part to keep online-only operators out of the state, but Governor JB Pritzker has been forced to change this rule.
With the casinos’ closure during the COVID-19 pandemic, Pritzker was hoping to give online sportsbooks a chance to gain new customers. This is the second time that Pritzker has waived the in-person registration requirement, but it is set to expire on September 19.
Huge Competition in Illinois
PointsBet will join a crowded market in Illinois that already features BetRivers, DraftKings, and FanDuel Sportsbook. These are some of the biggest names in the sports betting industry, and it should create a very competitive market.
BetRivers was the first mobile sportsbook in the state, and they had a big head start on the competition. Now that online registration is available for all of the state’s sportsbooks, customers are signing up with multiple sports betting sites.
Promotions Featured on Chicago Bears
PointsBet is looking to use the popularity of the Chicago Bears to help boost its customer base in Illinois. One of their first promotions featured the Week 1 matchup between the Bears and the Detroit Lions.
PointsBet has also employed former Bears superstar Devin Hester, and he will help promote the new sportsbook. Hester is the best kick returner in NFL history, and he is extremely popular in Illinois.
Other sportsbooks will also use the Chicago Bears as featured teams as a part of their promotions and bonuses.