Illinois Gaming Board Grants Licenses

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Seven Illinois Casinos are now set for Sports Betting after they get a master license approved

Illinois has taken a leap forward towards launching mobile sports betting after the state’s Gaming Board granted master licenses for seven casinos. However, there is still nowhere for the Prairie State residents to place a wager on those sports that have recently returned. This is because even after receiving those licenses, Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) rules state that casinos need to request approval to start accepting bets online separately, or through a mobile device.

This news follows the IGB publishing re-opening protocols for casinos in the state, which have been closed since 16 March due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The seven casinos who have obtained master licenses which gives them the ability to accept sports bets for four years are:

Argosy Casino Alton

Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin

Hollywood Casino Aurora

Hollywood Casino Joliet

Rivers Casino in Des Plaines

Casino Queen in East St. Louis

Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino

Gaming Board policy director, Joe Miller, stated that each casino is treated independently, and no set timetable has been given when these casinos can begin with sports wagering.

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Retail Sports Betting Already Started

The master license applications were approved unanimously and will expire in 2024. Before receiving their master license, the seven casinos held an owner’s license and temporary sports wagering permits.

Before COVID-19 took hold and casinos were forced to close, Argosy and Rivers were the only venues in the state that had received provisional approval to accept sports wagers. However, this was only available days before the sporting world came to a standstill, so we cannot gauge how well it performed.

Big Names set to enter Illinois Sports Betting Market?

Now that these licenses have been approved, there will be an 18-month timeout period for online-only sports betting giants such as DraftKings and FanDuel to enter the market. Operators will have to make a request to commence online wagering under Rule 1100.

After the 18-month timeout period, operators will face an extortionate $20 million initial licensing fee. This is due to the massive state budget deficit thanks to Coronavirus, which has resulted in Illinois wanting to keep its money inside the state.

There are currently no mobile betting options available in Illinois. However, Rivers Casino seems to be taking the lead. The property has a management services provider temporary operating permit via Rush Street Interactive and a supplier temporary operating permit via GeoComply. This points to Rivers Casino likely being the first online operator to provide sports betting for residents when mobile betting is live.

Penn Sports Interactive also holds a temporary operating permit. There are also five other companies still awaiting approval, of which some include FanDuel via BetFair Interactive, DraftKings via Crown IL Gaming, and PointsBet.

Illinois has undoubtedly ramped up efforts to introduce mobile sports wagering in recent times. Everything was running smoothly until like everywhere else, the state got hit severely by the pandemic, and this resulted in the total shutdown. If nothing crops up like that again, the path should be clear for sports betting to gather pace once professional leagues return to action.

Come and follow us over on Twitter @Gamble_usa for more legal sports betting news across the US.

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