Mobile Betting Gamechanger in Illinois

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Andy Dalton #14 of the Chicago Bears. Stephen Maturen/Getty Images/AFP

Illinois recently rescinded the in-person registration requirement for sports betting accounts and will now allow its residents and anyone within its boundaries to sign up remotely. It will be a boon to a market that is already booming.  

Registration Just Got Easier 

Illinois approved mobile sports betting within its borders in 2019 but signing up for an account meant traveling to a bricks-and-mortar location to do so as remote signups were not allowed. The state’s first legal sportsbook at Rivers Casino Des Plaines opened its doors in March of 2020 but was then forced to shut down shortly thereafter due to Governor J.B. Pritzker mandated state-wide stay-at-home order because of the global pandemic. 

The sign-up condition was waived three months later and allowed people to register remotely which proved to be a bonanza for the sports betting industry in Illinois. But in April of 2021, the inane requirement was reinstated which meant customers who had yet to sign up were now required to travel to the closest sportsbook to do so.  

But on Saturday, March 5th, logic ultimately triumphed and the requirement was again rescinded, only now it appears for good as bettors in Illinois will be able to sign up remotely just in time for March Madness.  

Joe Boozell, lead analyst for gaming industry website, said, “People are not willing to drive to a casino or retail sportsbook, in order to sign up for sports betting account. This change will allow Illinois to reach its full potential as a sports betting state.” 

Not surprisingly, Johnny Avello, director of sportsbook operations for DraftKings, echoed Boozell’s sentiments via a statement that read, “Mobile registration is an important factor for the success of legalized sports betting in Illinois. 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.” 

BetMGM New to Illinois Party 

The newest arrival to the mobile sports betting landscape in the Prairie State is BetMGM in partnership with Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria which had previously used the FanDuel sports app to procure their remote punters.  

Chris Grove, a partner with Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, said, “We’ll definitely see an uptick in marketing in Illinois. Your ability to capitalize on that marketing as an operator increases by several orders of magnitude if all you need to do is to get someone to download an app as opposed to drive into East St. Louis.” 

And so BetMGM will vie for market share in what has already proven to be a highly fertile sport betting market in Illinois with over $7 billion wagered in 2021. BetMGM will join fellow industry heavyweights, FanDuel and DraftKings as well as other mobile operators already ensconced in the Illinois market such as BetRivers, PointsBet, Caesars, and Barstool sportsbooks.  

Last year, FanDuel topped the list of Illinois mobile sportsbooks with $205 million in adjusted gross receipts while DraftKings came in a distant second with $138 million followed by PointsBet which generated $97 million. In total, $525 million of adjusted gross receipts was the take last year with the state taking in over $78 million and Cook County getting $6 million for its tax coffers. 

In December, Chicago approved plans for a FanDuel sportsbook at the United Center and a DraftKings sportsbook at the iconic Wrigley Field. All signs are pointing to 2022 as shaping up to be another record-breaking year in Illinois and all across the country.