Illinois Allows New Mobile Betting Platforms, But At A Price

Illinois Sports Betting Scene Welcomes More Mobile Operators, But At A Price

Sports betting in Illinois is undergoing an expansion with mobile-only sports betting platforms. However, this expansion comes with a quite significant price tag for new applicants, who have until December to submit their applications. Once approved, applicants must pay the $20 million price tag for a permit, and after that, a renewal fee every four years.  


Illinois welcomes widespread mobile-only betting.

The state of Illinois legalized sports betting over a year ago, with both retail and mobile betting allowed in the state since then. However, those two come with a combined license and very rigid rules. 


Casinos across the state allow mobile betting, but only after in-person registration has been done. This means that people who want to place mobile bets must be around a licensed casino site. With the introduction of mobile-only licenses, bettors around the state will be able to place mobile wagers without being around the casino’s vicinity. However, this new arrangement comes with a hefty price. 


Legislation in Illinois has restricted sports betting to only three operators, making the state a lucrative market for gambling operators. But the state’s $20 million mobile-only permits cost more than most other sports betting markets in the US. This price tag has brought about concerns that mobile operators will not take part in the application process.


Outlook after mobile-only sports betting begins

Gamblers in Illinois cannot place wagers at mobile sportsbooks without registering at a physical casino. Once mobile-only permits are issued, in-person registration will no longer be required in the state. The window for prospective operators to apply for permits will span 120 days and shut on December 3, 2021. According to Illinois state law, the Illinois Gaming Control Board must reveal the bidders who qualify 48 hours after the deadline. 


Ninety days after the application process closes, the Board can then go ahead to name its three mobile-only betting applicants. Two operators have already submitted applications in the state. The mobile betting permits set to be issued will be untethered, free of any existing partnerships with professional sports venues, casinos, and racetracks.  


Possibilities for mobile-only sportsbook operators

Sports betting in Illinois has done alright despite the summer-long decline it experienced. Retail and online sportsbooks received $476.5 million in wagers for June, a 6.1% drop from May’s total of $507.3 million. The significant price tag attached to the mobile licenses means there is a limit to the operators who can apply. Most of the newer sportsbooks in the US fall under the category of operators who will likely stay away from Illinois’ mobile-only application process. Eventual contenders will have to fall in the market-topping group of operators like BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel. 


A new football season approaches, and with it comes a prosperous phase for legal sports betting in Illinois. Applicants will be unable to fully utilize the upcoming football season due to the lengthy application review period. However, the nature and price of the permit make it much more of a longer-term investment than anything else. 


FanDuel and DraftKings already operate within Illinois, with FanDuel posting the more dominant online handles. Other live operators in the state include Barstool Sportsbook, Caesars Sportsbook, BetRivers, and PointsBet. 


Illinois Moves Closer to Accepting Online Registration for Mobile Sports Betting


The Illinois Gaming Board has already started receiving official applications for online-only sportsbook permits as the state inches closer towards online registration and betting. This move represents a new chapter in the Illinois sports betting narrative, a potential game-changer. 


The Board stated in a press release issued on August 5 that they had published permit applications to allow sportsbooks to operate entirely online. With that release, the process of permitting residents of the state to register and bet online kicked off officially.  


Back-and-Forth Timeline of Sports Betting in Illinois

The state of Illinois allowed its first legal bet in May 2020. Since then, sports gambling in the state has gone through a somewhat complex ride. Illinois followed the template of many other states by allowing sports gambling under the condition that gamblers completed in-person registrations at a licensed casino. However, in August 2020, State Governor Pritzker signed an order that allowed bettors to register online. This executive order was passed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Many residents believed that the order would be renewed, seeing as in-person registration was already set to expire towards the end of 2021. However, those assumptions were dashed when the state government elected not to keep the order in place after just seven months. Bettors had to resume in-person registration in the aftermath of that. 

.A Costly Conclusion

Now, the state government and the Illinois Gaming Board seem to be ready to keep to their word to discard the complicated in-person registration requirement. Sportsbooks interested in going entirely online can submit license applications from now until the December 3 deadline passes.  


As it turns out, these licenses are not all that straightforward to acquire. They come with a hefty price tag of $20 million, as well as multiple “requirements and procedures” that applicants must fulfil before they can qualify for consideration. 

The Gaming Board will determine and reveal qualified applicants within 48 hours after the deadline expires before selecting the three successful applicants within the following 90 days. Gamblers in Illinois will have to wait until March 2022 to determine which operators will be allowed to carry out online betting and registration.  


A Worthy Investment

Despite its expensive price tag, the online-only sports betting license remains an enticing investment to sportsbooks. Since it launched in May 2020, legalized sports gambling in Illinois has brought in $5.1 billion worth of sports wagers. The figure for June 2021, a time when in-person requirements still existed, topped $470 million. 


Allowing bettors to register and bet online wherever they are in Illinois is sure to expand the state’s betting market and increase the number of sportsbook customers. There’s no question that the move will turn out to be a worthy investment for sportsbooks already live in the state. 

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