A requirement for sports bettors to register new Illinois online sports betting accounts in person at casino locations is likely here to stay as several Illinois lawmakers supported the measure during a House Executive Committee meeting on Wednesday.
Several casino industry representatives presented testimony during Wednesday’s meeting in favor of removing the in-person registration requirement for new users. Jeff Kaplan, vice president of strategy and finance at Penn National Gaming, Trevor Hayes, head of government relations for William Hill, and John Pappas, a spokesperson for gaming industry trade group iDEA Growth all supported the removal of the requirement.
No Inclination To Remove In-Person Illinois Online Sports Betting Registration
Rep. Robert Rita (D-97), chair of the House committee, defended the in-person requirement and noted its inclusion in the 2019 sports betting bill was a key reason the bill was passed. The in-person requirement was designed to increase foot-traffic to the state’s brick and mortar casinos and lawmakers did not seem to consider its removal necessary on Wednesday.
The registration requirement will remain until it expires in late 2021 or early 2022.
Illinois and Nevada are the only two states in the country with legalized sports betting that require in-person registration at a casino for a new online sports betting account. Nevada’s numerous casinos make in-person registration for residents an easier pill to swallow than Illinois residents who must register an account at one of only five brick-and-mortar casinos in the state.
For example, if a resident wanted to register for the DraftKings Sportsbook Illinois’ app, users would need to drive to the Casino Queen Sportsbook in East St. Louis to activate an account.
Gov. Pritzker Chose Not To Lift Online Sports Registration Waiver
The in-person registration requirement was lifted by an executive order from Governor J.B. Pritzker due to concerns about COVID-19. However, the governor chose not to renew the executive order on April 3, citing it as no longer necessary. Pritzker had renewed the executive order several times prior, citing social distancing measures as well as logistical and operational concerns causes by COVID-19.
A report earlier this month noted state lawmakers were considering revisiting the in-person requirement, but any movement on this action seems to be moot at this point in time.
Illinois gambling laws reverted back to how they were pre-pandemic. So where can you register now for online betting? Why did they do it? Who does it help? Who does it hurt?
— Matt Roy (@MattRoy_TV) April 6, 2021
The lack of an in-person requirement spurred the rapid growth of the sports betting market in Illinois. In September 2020, over 230,000 new mobile sports betting accounts were created, according to the Illinois Gaming Board.
DraftKings, William Hill, PointsBet, FanDuel and BetRivers all currently operate online sportsbooks in Illinois.