Caliente Interactive awarded sports betting license by Illinois Gaming Board
Illinois Gaming Board awards Caliente Interactive Online-only sports betting license
Some surprising news broke on Thursday morning from Illinois as Caliente Interactive was approved as a new sports wagering operator in the state. The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) revealed Caliente, a Mexico-based gaming company, would be launching in its first US jurisdiction. The Caliente “Caliplay” site will likely be live within the next few months.
Two Licenses Remain
The IGB considered up to three online-only licenses, but Caliente was the only one to win approval on Thursday. The Fubo Sportsbook application was rejected, while an unknown applicant withdrew its bid during the process. IGB Administrator Marcus Fruchter stated the other two licenses are still open in Illinois.
The Prairie State has seven live operators, including BetMGM, BetRivers, Barstool, Caesars, DraftKings and PointsBet. Illinois has revealed its financial results for January and February this year. Those results showed the year-to-date handle across those two months was $1.5 billion. Illinois generated $101.8 million in revenue on a 6.6% hold rate over the first two months of the year.
According to Caliente Interactive, they are a “ leading operator of Online Gaming and Sports Betting in Mexico.” The company also has bookmaking and off-track betting outlets in Peru, Paraguay, Panama, Brazil, Austria, Ecuador, Venezuela, Uruguay and the Caribbean. Caliente is part of Group Caliente, which began life in 1916 in Tijuana.
Plans Change in Illinois
Initially, the IGB intended to issue the three online-only licenses alongside removing the in-person sports wagering registration requirement. When Illinois mobile sports betting launched in March 2020, the plan was to have 18 months of only in-person registration.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic led Governor JB Pritzker to suspend that in-person requirement for seven months. Last fall, the Illinois legislature voted to start allowing online registration permanently on March 5th.
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