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Illinois Takes First Step Toward Allowing Online Sports Betting Registration

The Illinois Gaming Board has officially begun taking applications for online-only sportsbook licenses, the first step toward online registration and wagering in the state.
Illinois Online Sports Betting Registration

Illinois Gaming Board Chairman Charles Schmadeke and other board members. | Photo: Victor Hilitski/Chicago Sun-Times

The Illinois sports betting saga is entering its next chapter, and this one has the potential to change the game.

On August 5, the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) issued a press release stating that they had published applications for sportsbooks to operate in the state completely online. This move officially kicked off the process of allowing Illinois residents to not only wager, but also register online.

The Complex Timeline of Illinois Sports Betting

Ever since the first legal bet was placed in May of 2020, sports gambling in Illinois has been a back-and-forth endeavor. Like many states, Illinois began legalized sports gambling with a requirement that bettors register in-person at a licensed casino. However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Pritzker signed an executive order in August 2020 allowing online registration.

Many residents assumed Governor Pritzker would keep the executive order in place considering in-person registration was always set to expire in late 2021. But in a surprise move, he elected not to renew the order after just seven months.

An Expensive Conclusion

This time it seems the Governor and IGB are keeping their word to do away with the inconvenient registration process. Between now and December 3, sportsbooks can submit applications to go fully online. These licenses will not come easy... or cheap. The fee for the right to transition online is a lofty $20 million.

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Sportsbooks that wish to offer online registration and wagering will also need to meet numerous "requirements and procedures" just to be eligible for consideration, according to the press release. The IGB will determine and publish eligible applicants 48 hours after the December 3 deadline.

Ultimately the IGB will select just three applicants to receive the licenses, based on the rules outlined in Illinois' Sports Wagering Rule 1900.620(l). The state has 90 days to complete the selection process once eligible applicants have been established. That means Illinois betters will still need to wait until March 2022 to find out where and when they can register online.

A Price Worth Paying

Although the fees sound cumbersome, there's no question whether or not this opportunity will be enticing to the sportsbooks. While reporting on this story, shared that since it became legal, $5.1 billion in sports wagers have been placed in the state. That number was over $450 million in June alone when requirements were still dictating in-person registration.

The removal of this requirement will allow sportsbooks to tap into an even wider market. There are certainly fans still clamoring to sign up and wager from the comfort of their homes.

There are many sportsbooks already active in Illinois, but this new opportunity has the potential to attract even more, truly opening the wagering floodgates in the state.

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