The sports betting industry in the state of Illinois took a major hit this weekend, and it was a stunning move. Governor JB Pritzker has decided not to renew mobile sports betting registration effective today.
New customers must now visit a casino to complete their new account registration, and that will limit the number of new customers that sign up. Pritzker was applauded when he loosened the restriction in June, but this move drew plenty of opposition from industry leaders and sports bettors in Illinois.
Pritzker eliminated the in-person registration requirement during the coronavirus pandemic as all of the casinos were shut down across the state. Now that they are back open, Pritzker is forcing customers to visit them to complete their registration.
Even though Pritzker extended a number of his current executive orders, he declined to keep the mobile sports betting registration open. Pritzker cited the fact that the in-person registration was a part of the initial rules and regulations, and he wanted to keep those intact.
Other states throughout the country have the same in-person registration requirement in place, and it has severely limited their growth in the industry. The sports betting market in Illinois has struggled since launch on March 9, and this won’t do anything to change that.
Only Two Sportsbooks Available
There are just two sportsbooks up and running currently in Illinois, although several others could be joining the market by the end of 2020. BetRivers Sportsbook was the first to launch on March 9, but they have been joined by Argosy Casino Hotel in Alton.
BetRivers is the only mobile sports betting app in the state, and they quickly launched its mobile platform after Pritzker relaxed the registration requirements. BetRivers offered several bonuses and promotions to attract new customers, and they were able to dominate the market over the past two months.
DraftKings and FanDuel both recently received a temporary sports betting license, but this new requirement could keep them from growing in Illinois as they have in other states. Both companies were forced to partner with a race track or casino in the state, and those properties have not yet received their owner’s sports betting license.
The in-person requirement was initially put in place to help casinos attract new business, but it has limited the sports betting market. It will also likely keep some sportsbooks from launching an online app as betting will mostly be done in the retail sportsbooks.
Sports betting customers in the city of Chicago will suffer the most from this new rule as there aren’t many options close to the city. The city of St. Louis will have three different casinos in their metro area that offer sports betting, but Chicago could drive sports betting in the state.
It will be interesting to see if Governor Pritzker changes course again over the coming weeks as he will likely face some pressure from casinos and lawmakers. Illinois has had a very interesting start to sports betting, and this is just another wrinkle.