When the state of Illinois initially legalized sports betting in June 2019, there was an 18-month period where in-person registration would be required. Many industry experts believed that Illinois was leaving money on the table by implementing this regulation, but it has turned out to be a moot point.
Illinois launched sports betting on March 9, 2020, but all of the states’ casinos were shut down just a few days later in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. With retail locations closed for close to three months, it was not possible for a sports bettor to sign up for a new account.
Governor JB Pritzker decided to remove the in-person registration requirement in late June to give mobile sportsbooks a chance to accept new customers. BetRivers was the only mobile sports betting that was able to take advantage of this new rule as the executive order expired on July 26.
On August 21, Pritzker decided to re-instate Executive Order 2020-41, once again waiving the in-person registration requirement. At this time, both DraftKings and FanDuel were ready to launch in Illinois.
That order was set to expire on September 19, but Pritzker once again decided to extend the order. Last week, it was announced that Executive Order 2020-41 has once again been extended until at least November 14.
Many in the state are hoping that the executive order will eventually stick for good, but that would require lawmakers to make a change to the sports betting regulations. This will likely be discussed in 2021, especially as the state continues to see large mobile sports betting numbers.
August Brings Huge Numbers
After posting just modest sports betting handle and revenue numbers from March-July, things turned around in a big way during August. Total sports betting handle totaled more than $138 million.
The August numbers were more than double the numbers from March-July, and mobile sports betting played a huge role in the large increase. 88.5% of the entire betting handle in August was from the mobile side of the industry.
July produced $52.5 million in sports betting handle, which was the first full month that mobile sports betting was up and running. Even though in-person registration was required for a large part of the month, the mobile handle still accounted for more than 90% of all wagers.
Illinois has not yet announced its September sports betting numbers, but the state is expected to see another huge jump. The National Football League began to play in September, and football is the most popular sport to bet on in the United States.
The August numbers show that Indiana is already closing in on Indiana to become a leader in the Midwest region of the United States. Indiana launched its sports betting industry in September 2019 and went over the $1 billion mark in July.
More Betting Options For Residents
Rivers Casino Des Plaines got a huge head start on the competition in Illinois, but that is no longer the case. The BetRivers app was also an early leader in the state, but there are now four other mobile betting apps available.
DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, and William Hill have all launched their mobile sportsbook apps in the state, and they are all taking advantage of the remote registration period. These are five of the biggest names in the industry, but Illinois will also be adding more options in 2021.
All five companies offer retail sports betting, but it will likely be PointsBet that leads in that portion of the industry. PointsBet has partnered with Hawthorne Race Course, and the two companies just recently opened a retail sportsbook less than 15 miles from downtown Chicago.