A major influx of leading sports betting brands may enter the Illinois market as soon as this week, according to industry sources.
Just a little under a month since BetRivers Sportsbook became the first and only online betting app in Illinois following Governor Pritzker’s emergency declaration which lifted an 18-month in-person online sportsbook registration limit, several other leading online betting brands are set to enter the fray.
Those could include DraftKings Sportsbook, William Hill, and FanDuel Sportsbook. We hear other brands such as PointsBet and FOX Bet are still weeks or months out.
A Rapid Change in Illinois
The rapid shift in landscape has come as a result of the emergency declaration, which saw the lifting of what was supposed to be an 18-month period that required bettors to register in person.
The obvious reason for the change in rollout is that casinos were closed. And even now that they’re open, adding more congestion into tight spaces doesn’t seem wise, especially for something that can be done comfortably from home.
Top all this off with the state’s presumed desire to increase tax revenue through online online gambling… and it all makes sense.
Simply put, there was no credible reason for there to be an in-person registration requirement in the first place. It was seen largely as a “penalty box” for DraftKings and FanDuel, who had operated their daily fantasy sites in Illinois against the wishes of the state attorney general.
Recently, though, both operators have moved swiftly to find casino partners to gain market access in Illinois.
Just last month, DraftKings signed an agreement with Casino Queen, paving the way for them to enter Illinois.
Sources indicate that several major brand sportsbooks will be live in Illinois for the return of sports. We presume this to include some combination of DraftKings, FanDuel, and William Hill.
This is a whiplash speed change of direction for the state.
The Illinois sports betting market looked like it would stroll along for about the next year and a half. While anyone could have walked into a casino to sign up for an online sportsbook during that time, the vast majority of online sports betters are not traditional casino-goers, and adding that requirement is a fairly significant hurdle to activating new players.
But not only has that burdensome caveat now been lifted, at least temporarily, but we’re now also looking at a situation where four or five sportsbooks are live online for what is shaping up to be an unbelievable six-month stretch of sports… should all of the major leagues be able to pull off their delicate plans to hold a season or postseason.
Illinois Sports Betting Market
As one of the largest states in the country with a major sports market, Illinois has long been coveted by operators.
So far, only BetRivers has taken action online, with limited events such as UFC and PGA Tour golf, along with futures betting and some far-flung events from the other side of the world.
But with three of the biggest sports betting brands on the planet set to enter the market, competition is about to heat up.
We will make sure to keep you updated when each of these books launch in Illinois. It should be soon.