Illinois governor JB Pritzker issued an order Thursday night that allows people to register for sports betting through mobile accounts amid the coronavirus pandemic. It will be in effect as long as the quarantine keeps Illinois’ casinos closed.
Requirements to register for mobile sports are different in every state. States including New Jersey, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia do not require in-person registration. Illinois required in-person registration up until last Thursday.
Many gaming analysts consider in-person registration a hindrance to the growth of the sports betting market as people can only register in person at specific locations around the state. Therefore, it is not accessible to everyone and has found difficulty gaining momentum.
Pritzker legalized sports betting in the state almost a year ago after signing a $12 billion capital bill into action. On June 4, he proceeded to sign Executive Order 2020-41 that recognized the inability for Illinois residents to appear at a casino, because of social distancing guidelines as well as the fact, all casinos will remain closed for longer than expected.
The executive order will allow sports fans to place wagers from the safety of their homes. Although the order is temporary, it is expected to help Illinois’ economy for the time being considering the drop in interest and lack of live sports.
Casino Return Plan
Pritzker claims casinos will only open once it is definitively safe to do so per the state’s Restore Illinois plan. All around the country, many states that participate in legal sports betting have been interested in pursuing mobile sports betting in all aspects due to the pandemic.
Considering the law to allow sports betting in the state of Illinois was only passed one year ago, the state has not had ample time to expand the market – both physically and socially. There was only one sportsbook opened before the coronavirus pandemic struck located in Des Plaines. Another casino in Alton, Ill., was scheduled to open on March 16; plans have since changed.
Many casino ownership groups and racetracks have since applied for their temporary operating permits and are pending approval. Illinois law does allow standalone mobile operators. The only problem with these licenses is they take about 18 months to start up.
Sports Starting To Return
Although casinos are still closed, sports are already confirming the dates they expected to return to normal play. The English Premier League is scheduled to resume its year on June 17.
On Thursday, the NBA announced it would restart its season on July 31 with 22 teams. The NHL and MLB have also discussed resuming normal operations, although dates have not been set.
In summary, sports are coming back to society, and although they may not look like what we’re used to, sports betting and sportsbooks are bound to get hit with more application traffic.
Two big mobile operators, FanDuel and DraftKings, could potentially be affected by the executive order. Last year, the bill Pritzker passed included an 18-month window requiring sports enthusiasts to register in-person rather than online.
Mobile sports betting platforms like FanDuel and DraftKings had already been looking for alternative routes to enter the market since they would have to wait a year and a half to participate in their own way. Now that the new bill has been passed, they plan on joining casinos who have applied for sports betting licenses.
The Illinois Gaming Board is set to meet for the first since January in just a few days. Considering the time of Pritzker passing this new bill, they will have plenty to discuss. The meeting will be live-streamed for the public to view and ask questions.