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PointsBet Sportsbook Opens in Illinois This Week

Hawthorne Race Course PointsBet

PointsBet Sportsbook has become the first Off-Track sportsbook in Illinois.

PointsBet and Hawthorne Race Course opened its doors to the first off-track and non-casino sportsbook in Illinois this week, after receiving approval from the Illinois Gaming Board. The Hawthorne in Crestwood has recently undergone significant upgrades and refurbishments and is part of the off-tracking betting (OTB) network. It becomes the first of three such OTB locations that will start accepting in-person bets under the Illinois sports betting law.

The retail PointsBet Sportsbook at Hawthorne Race Course began operations in September, becoming the first race track sportsbook in Illinois. Additionally, it is the nearest sportsbook to Chicago, approximately 11 miles from the city. The OTB is 15 miles from the racecourse.

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Tim Carey, president of Hawthorne Race Course, confirmed that Hawthorne is “the only gaming company in the Chicagoland area,” which has the legal approval to open sportsbooks at non-casino and off-track locations. He added the work done to remodel and upgrade the property will “create the best sports betting destination in the state.”

The newly designed OTB sportsbook features 24 75-inch TVs, a 163-foot video wall, and a state-of-the-art sound system. According to Hawthorne, the idea behind the sound system is to replicate an arena-like experience. Additionally, there are five betting clerk stations and six self-service kiosks. The location has the capacity to house 500 people, but due to COVID social distancing rules, that number will be reduced.

Aussie based bookmaker PointsBet was the fourth online/mobile sportsbook app to launch in Illinois via its partnership with Hawthorne. Johnny Aitken, CEO of PointsBet USA, said the opening of this retail sportsbook is a “unique opportunity.” He added that the PointsBet sportsbook is the “best in Chicago” and also the “best sports bar, too.”

Earlier this week, PointsBet, the PGA Tour, and NBC Sports announced the launch of the first golf betting show to occur during a tour event. The live production is called NBC Sports Edge BetCast and will be available on Peacock Premium. The first broadcast will be on February 4-7 during the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Illinois Posts Record Handle

Gov. JB Pritzker extended IL sportsbook remote registration from January 8 until February 6. The previous extension was due to expire the day after his announcement. The fact that bettors can register without going to a casino was a significant factor in the state recording $434.6 million in total sports handle in October.

That figure was the fourth-highest total among states with a legal sports betting industry and contributed to the $3.2 billion handle for the whole of the US in October. Mobile sports betting accounted for 94.3% of the final numbers.

Follow us over on Twitter @Gamble_usa for the latest legal casino and sports betting news across the US.

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