Sportsbooks Poised to Enter Illinois

Hawthorne Racecourse, Illinois


Alex W



Huge sports fan. Football & MLS fanatic. Lover of all things gambling - Sports betting, Casino, Poker and of course, Las Vegas.

Sportsbooks are lining up to go live in Illinois with big operators ready to go live

Things have been slow to move on the sports betting front in Illinois; however, things are now starting to move. The Illinois Gaming Board met last week and granted temporary sports betting licenses for three potential new operators to join the party. The first operator to be given a temporary license by the IGB was the Australian based company PointsBet. They are no stranger to the gambling market in the United States, having already launched their sportsbook in several states. The IGB also revealed that they are reviewing other licenses.

Last week, two of the most well-known operators, DraftKings and FanDuel, were awarded their temporary operating permits, which could lead to two of the most popular companies having a presence in the Prairie State. This does not mean these three operators are close to launching retail or mobile sportsbooks; however, it is a significant step in the right direction.

Both PointsBet and Fanduel have entered the market by partnering with a pair of racetracks in the state. PointsBet has an agreement with Hawthorne Park, while FanDuel has struck a partnership with Fairmount Park. Both racetracks have applied for sports betting licenses, but these have yet to be approved. The legislation means sports stadiums can also apply for a sports betting license as long as they meet specific requirements, but there have been no applications up to this point.

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DraftKings has entered the market by virtue of its partnership with the Casino Queen in East St. Louis. The operator will offer retail sports betting at this location, and because their partnership is with a casino, they could be the first to go live. The Casino Queen obtained their owners’ license on June 11, so they can now offer sports betting.

Lack of Mobile Betting Apps in the State

The Rivers Casino in Des Plaines became the first property to offer retail sports betting in March. BetRivers opened their sportsbook at the same time, but any potential progress was halted due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Governor JB Pritzker removed the need to register for an account in-person during the pandemic, which meant BetRivers could launch their mobile app in June. This remains the only mobile sports betting option in the state. Another casino, the Argosy in Alton, was planning to offer sports betting in March, but they were forced to shut their doors before getting the chance. However, they have now reopened their doors and are accepting bets on sporting events. It is hoped that there will be more retail sports betting options available in the state before the end of this year.

DraftKings & FanDuel Work Around Issues

When Illinois expanded their gaming bill last year, it was written that both DraftKings and FanDuel would be put in a ‘penalty box’ for 18 months. This decision came after a long legal battle in which the Prairie State claimed that the two operators were ‘bad actors.’

The law stated that any online gaming operator could not apply for a sports betting license for a minimum of 18 months from when the first bet was taken. It was believed both DraftKings and FanDuel would be kept from the state, but they have navigated their way around the issue.

Follow us on Twitter @Gamble_usa to stay up to date on the latest legal casino and sports betting news across the US.

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