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Illinois Casinos Still Counting on March Madness for Legal Sports Betting

It has been a long and confusing process in launching sports betting in Illinois, but perhaps the process ends in the next two weeks. Governor JB Pritzker has said that sports betting will be live in the state before the beginning of the March Madness tournament. The first game of the NCAA Tournament is set for March 17, which is less than two weeks away.

Argosy Casino in Alton, Rivers Casino, and the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin have already received temporary permits to offer sports betting, and those locations have been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to go live.

Rivers Casino has the main location that is gearing up for sports betting as they look to become the early leader in the sports betting industry in the “Land of Lincoln.” Rivers Casino has already changed its operating hours to 24 hours a day, which was approved under the expanded gaming laws.

The location has held recent job fairs to add employees, and they have also established a sports betting lounge, not too dissimilar to one you’d find in a casino, that is set to open when they start taking bets.

Illinois approved an expanding gambling bill in June 2019, and there was initial hope that sports betting would go live by the end of 2019. The Illinois Gaming Board had some issues in getting the application process going, and they have also yet to decide on a set of rules that will govern this new industry.

Residents of the state that are wishing to participate in the new sports betting industry will have to do some traveling at first. Anyone wanting to create a sports betting account must visit one of the approved casinos before placing any bets.

The casinos that offer sports betting on-site are the only companies that can offer mobile betting as well. Casinos continue to be optimistic that sports betting will be live for one of the biggest sporting events of the year.

More Casinos Apply For Sports Betting License

The first wave of sports betting licenses was given out a few weeks ago, and there were just three casinos that were allowed to offer sports betting. With things expected to go live in the next two weeks, three more casinos and a racetrack have now applied for a sports betting license.

That would increase the total to six casinos and one racetrack able to offer sports betting if the state of Illinois approves these new applications.

The Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria, Ill., was one of the three casinos to apply for a license. This would be huge because it is the only casino in the central portion of the state that is able to apply for a license.

A pair of Hollywood Casino locations in Aurora and Joliet are the other two casinos that have applied for a license. Fairmount Park racetrack in Collinsville, Ill., is the other location that is hoping to offer sports betting.

The Illinois Gaming Board is expected to make a decision on these new licenses soon, and there is a chance that these locations could go live with the first three locations.

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