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Seven Casinos Awarded Sports Betting Licenses in Illinois

Sports betting has been legal in the state of Illinois for close to a year, but the industry has only been up and running for a few days. The coronavirus pandemic shut down the market just days after launch, but there has also been plenty of controversy surrounding the industry.

Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Ill., was the first casino to offer sports betting, launching on March 9. The casino held a large ceremony before taking the first official sports bets in the Land of Lincoln.

A pair of casinos were set to join the party a week later, but they never got the chance as casinos were forced to close by Governor JB Pritzker. The casinos throughout the state remain closed, but there is some news surrounding the industry this week.

The Illinois Gaming Board recently handed out seven new sports betting licenses to casinos that had submitted their application throughout the state. This will have a huge impact on the sports betting industry when sports come back, and when casinos are allowed to reopen.

Not Done Yet

The seven casinos that were granted a sports betting master license earlier this week will still have to get through another step before they can begin taking bets. Each casino will have to submit another application before they are able to offer sports betting.

Even though Rivers Casino in Des Plaines had already started taking bets on sports, their license became official earlier this week. The same goes for the Argosy Casino and Hotel in Alton, which had planned to take bets before the shutdown began.

A pair of Hollywood Casinos in Aurora and Joliet also received their sports betting master licenses at the Illinois Gaming Board this week. The Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin officially received their license as well.

The other two locations to receive their master license were the Casino Queen in East St. Louis and the Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria. These locations had applied for a license a long time ago, but their application was finally reviewed.

The Illinois Gaming Board also announced that these licenses are good through June 2024. The casinos will be forced to reapply at that point and pay a separate fee. The Illinois Gaming Board will be working with each casino to set up a timeline for them to start taking bets.

Start The Clock

With the announcement of these seven master sports betting licenses, it also starts the clock for online-only operators to apply in the state. State law mandates that online-only operators must wait at least 18 months before they are allowed to begin applying for a license.

Governor Pritzker announced last week that he was amending the rules when it comes to signing up for an online sportsbook account. Residents can now sign up online without actually visiting a casino, which was the previous law.

This would seem to restart the sports betting industry in Illinois, but there aren’t any live mobile apps currently. Customers won’t have a place to register for an account or place bets until a casino can launch a mobile app.

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