The long-awaited permanent launch of remote registration for mobile sports betting in Illinois takes place at 12:01 a.m. Central time Saturday.
DraftKings and PointsBet plan to get off to a fast start. Representatives from the two companies confirmed to USBettingReport.com they will launch mobile sportsbook registration Saturday.
While PointsBet’s representative didn’t offer an exact timeframe, DraftKings confirmed it will be ready at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.
Australian-based PointsBet said Saturday’s launch date is perfectly timed. It allows operators to get their foot in the door prior to the opening tip of March Madness and The Masters. Kyle Christensen, chief marketing officer for PointsBet, said in an email to USBettingReport.com.
“With sports fans more easily able to access PointsBet for online sports betting, we can expect to see a jump in wagering on sports of all kinds, especially with the upcoming March Madness tournament on the horizon. The end of the in-person registration rule is a momentous achievement for the Illinois sports betting market as it will allow greater accessibility for fans and bettors statewide, many of whom are unable to travel to sites to register.”
The Road to Remote Registration
Illinois H.B. 3136, which legalized mobile sports book registration, became law in December. The bill also allows limited in-person wagering on in-state college sporting events and added Chicago’s Wintrust Arena (home of the DePaul Blue Demons and the WNBA’s Chicago Sky) to the list of pro sports venues eligible for an onsite sportsbook.
The state’s 2019 sports betting law required customers to register in-person at an operators’ retail location. The in-person registration requirement could only be lifted after an online-only license was awarded in the state. The fee to acquire a mobile-only license was $20 million.
Because of the cost, online operators like DraftKings Sportsbook joined forces with casinos and racetracks to gain entry into the market. Now all the sportsbooks that received licenses in the state will get the benefit of full mobile operation without having to spending the $20 million fee.
BetMGM Will Be Fresh Face in Illinois Market
BetMGM received an Illinois management service provider license in December to partner with East Peoria’s Par-A-Dice Hotel & Casino.
The approval allowed the company to add Illinois as its 20th market and first since opening in New York in December. Illinois has yet to be added to the BetMGM website, and the company wouldn’t comment this week on their timeline to launch in the state.
In December, BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt told USBettingReport.com the company would be ready to enter the market March 5.
Caesars Sportsbook, which partnered with Caesars Entertainment-owned casinos in Illinois and has been active since Sept. 2020, also wouldn’t comment on when it might launch full mobile operation in the state.
Johnny Avello, who serves as DraftKings’ director of sportsbook operations, said Saturday’s mobile registration launch is another key step in Illinois’ maturation as a sports betting hotbed. DraftKings, through its partnership with Casino Queen in East St. Louis, has been a dominant player in mobile betting in the state even without online registration.
“Mobile registration is an important factor for the success of legalized sports betting in Illinois,” Avello said in an email to USBettingReport.com. “We are thrilled that the legislature has lifted the artificial barrier of in-person registration and is now allowing customers to register their DraftKings Sportsbook accounts remotely.”
What Mobile Registration Brings to Illinois
The addition of mobile sportsbook registration will further elevate Illinois’ standing as a sports betting center.
The state has consistently ranked in the top five in terms of wagers since the state launched sports betting in early 2020.
Illinois’ most recent handle ($790 million in December) ranked third nationally. New Jersey ($1.23 billion) and Nevada ($1.01 billion) were both ahead. In total Illinois made north of $7 billion in handle and $500 million in revenue during 2021.
The addition of permanent mobile sportsbook registration should further boost Illinois’ sports betting marketplace. This will keep it competitive with New Jersey, Nevada and newcomer New York. NY posted a new US record handle of $1.625 billion in January.
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Christopher Boan covers sports betting and casino gambling for Gambling.com Group. He is the lead writer at BetArizona.com after reporting on sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.