Illinois Betting Limitations & Issues Discussed Further
In 2019, Illinois legalized sports wagering at state gaming facilities and gave permission to those brick and mortar locations to open online sportsbooks. The intention of the state at the time was to make residents who were interested in sports wagering physically go register in-person at a sportsbook, before being allowed to place a bet online.
At the time this law was passed, most people recognized that in-person registration was a form of punishing both DraftKings and FanDuel, who were not yet established in the state with their own brick and mortar locations.
Illinois Betting – Why In-Person Registration?
Before sports betting was legalized in the state of Illinois, both DraftKings and FanDuel were operating their DFS (daily fantasy sports) games online against the wishes of the state. When it came time to legalize sports betting, Illinois was in no hurry to forgive either organization for operating their DFS games without their approval.
Despite launching sports betting with in-person registration laws in place, like many things during the COVID pandemic times, Illinois was forced to adapt. As cases grew and businesses were being temporarily closed, Illinois Governor. J.B. Pritzker started issuing executive orders that allowed residents who wanted to wager on sports the ability to register online instead of in-person.
Show me the money!
With in-person registration on hold, the sports betting industry was booming in Illinois. In January of 2021, Illinois became the fourth US State to surpass $500 million in total money wagered, joining Pennsylvania, Nevada, and New Jersey. Operators in the state combined to make almost $50 million in revenue, and the state was paid over $7 million from taxes in January alone.
Maybe to the chagrin of some grudge holding local politicians, it was the online giants at DraftKings and FanDuel who were benefiting the most from legalized sports betting in the state. In January alone, there was over $240 million bet through DraftKings just in Illinois, which represented 42% of the market share. FanDuel captured 30% of the legal bets placed in the state.
As states and communities continue to vaccinate their population and the world opens up again, Illinois is faced with an interesting decision. The original law mandated that in order to start placing bets online, a resident would have to physically register at a location first. When COVID arrived, that mandate disappeared, and with online registration available, the sports betting industry was booming.
But now that the vaccines have arrived and we are returning back to normalcy, whatever normalcy looks like moving forward, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has once again decided that in-person registration is the way to go. Early in April of 2021, anyone who wanted to place a wager but had not yet registered with a legal sportsbook was once again forced to go in-person and register.
Illinois Betting And a Potential Fall-out?
There has been a lot of negative reaction to Pritzker’s recent decision. The sports books recognize industry growth will be limited by the in-person registration law.
Residents who did not register online already or who weren’t yet eligible to register are upset by the inconvenience of having to physically go to one of the few brick and mortar locations before they start placing their bets.
Politicians are wondering if holding a grudge against DraftKings and FanDuel will ultimately cost the state some much needed tax revenue and does the state needs to move on from their issues with those two gambling giants.
For now, the original ruling of in-person registration stands, but there are many people who believe in-person registration in Illinois won’t be around much longer.