The long-awaited permanent launch of remote registration for mobile sports betting in Illinois takes place at 12:01 a.m. Central time Saturday.
Illinois H.B. 3136, which legalized mobile sports book registration, was signed into law in December. The bill also allows limited 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, online operators like DraftKings Sportsbook joined forces with casinos and racetracks to gain entry into the market. Now all of 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 Operators Say About Saturday’s Launch
Representatives from DraftKings Sportsbook Illinois and PointsBet Illinois confirmed to IllinoisBet.com they will launch mobile sportsbook registration Saturday.
While PointsBet’s representative didn’t offer an exact timeframe, DraftKings confirmed it will be ready at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. Caesars Sportsbook and BetMGM wouldn’t comment on their plans to roll out mobile registration.
BetMGM received an Illinois management service provider license in December to partner with East Peoria’s Par-A-Dice Hotel & Casino. At the time, BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt told IllinoisBet.com the company would be ready to enter the market March 5.
Johnny Avello, who serves as DraftKings director of sportsbook operations, said Saturday’s mobile registration launch is another key step in Illinois’ maturation as a sports betting hotbed.
“Mobile registration is an important factor for the success of legalized sports betting in Illinois,” Avello said in an email to IllinoisBet.com. “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.”
Australian-based PointsBet said Saturday’s launch date is perfectly timed, allowing operators to get their foot in the door prior to the opening tip of March Madness and The Masters.
“With sports fans more easily able to access PointsBet for online sports betting, we can expect to see a jump in wagering on sports of all kinds, especially with the upcoming March Madness tournament on the horizon,” Kyle Christensen, chief marketing officer for PointsBet, said in an email to IllinoisBet.com.
“The end of the in-person registration rule is a momentous achievement for the Illinois sports betting market as it will allow greater accessibility for fans and bettors statewide, many of whom are unable to travel to sites to register.”
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.