DraftKings is one of the market leaders in sports betting in Illinois, and the operator wants to stay that way in the era of remote registration.
The long-awaited permanent launch of online registration for mobile sports betting took place at 12:01 a.m. Central time Saturday, and DraftKings Sportsbook was one of the first operators in the state to offer the service.
“Mobile registration is an important factor for the success of legalized sports betting in Illinois,” DraftKings director of sportsbook operations Johnny Avello said in an email to IllinoisBet.com earlier in the week. “We are thrilled that the legislature has lifted the artificial barrier of in-person registration and is now allowing customers to register their DraftKings Sportsbook accounts remotely.”
DraftKings, through its partnership with Casino Queen in East St. Louis, has been a dominant player in mobile betting in the state even without online registration.
How We Got to Saturday’s Relaunch in Illinois
Illinois H.B. 3136, which legalized mobile sportsbook registration, was signed into law in December. The bill also allows limited in-person wagering on in-state college sporting events and added Chicago’s Wintrust Arena (home of the DePaul Blue Demons and the WNBA’s Chicago Sky) to the list of pro sports venues eligible for an onsite sportsbook.
The state’s 2019 sports betting law required customers who wanted to wager online to first register in-person at an operators’ retail location. The in-person registration requirement could only be lifted after an online-only license was awarded in the state. The fee to acquire a mobile-only license is $20 million.
Because of the cost, major online operators joined forces with casinos and racetracks to gain entry into the market. Now all the sportsbooks that received licenses in the state will get the benefit of full mobile operation without having to spending the $20 million fee.
What Other Operators are Doing in Illinois
FanDuel Sportsbook is celebrating mobile registration in Illinois with a $1,000 risk free offer.
FanDuel announced its mobile registration launch in the state on social media just a little after midnight.
𝗜𝗟𝗟𝗜𝗡𝗢𝗜𝗦 — It's time 💰— FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) March 5, 2022
Starting today you can sign up and verify your Sportsbook account from anywhere in the state of Illinois!
Download the app to get started 📲
Android: https://t.co/YAwztjYDdd pic.twitter.com/M8eMfIJtdw
BetMGM jumped into the market for the first time. The operator received an Illinois management service provider license in December to partner with East Peoria’s Par-A-Dice Hotel & Casino.
BetMGM announced its Illinois launch on social media Saturday morning. BetMGM figures to be the first truly mobile sportsbook in the state. Although it’s partnered with Par-A-Dice Casino, it isn’t expected to operate a retail facility there. BetMGM is offering a risk free first bet up to $1,000 for first-time Illinois users.
What Mobile Registration Brings to Illinois
The addition of mobile sportsbook registration is expected to further elevate Illinois’ standing as a sports betting center.
The state has consistently ranked in the top five in terms of wagers since the state launched sports betting in early 2020.
Illinois’ most recent handle ($790 million in December) ranked third nationally behind New Jersey ($1.23 billion) and Nevada ($1.01 billion), with the state generating north of $7 billion in handle and $500 million in revenue during 2021.
The addition of permanent mobile sportsbook registration should further boost Illinois’ sports betting marketplace, allowing it to stay competitive with New Jersey, Nevada and newcomer New York, which posted a record handle of $1.625 billion in January.