BREAKING: Barstool Sportsbook To Launch Thursday In Illinois

Written By Joe Boozell on March 9, 2021 - Last Updated on June 23, 2021

The Barstool Sportsbook app will launch in Illinois on Thursday at noon, according to Dave Portnoy.

Initially flagged by a tweet from the Barstool founder, Penn National Gaming released a press release announcing the launch in the Prairie State.

As promised, it should go live in Illinois in time for March Madness betting, becoming the sixth online sportsbook in the state.

Barstool will join DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers, PointsBet and William Hill sports betting operators. Its retail sportsbooks at Hollywood Casino Aurora and Hollywood Casino Joliet should also open soon, and we expect Barstool to launch a retail sportsbook at Argosy Casino Alton.

There is also a Barstool Sportsbook at the Ameristar East Chicago, which is in Indiana. But it’s less than a 40-minute drive from downtown Chicago.

Barstool projects to be a force in Illinois, as it has an extremely dedicated Chicago following.

Here’s what you need to know about Barstool in Illinois.

Barstool also uses Kambi odds

Half of the Illinois online sportsbooks will now use Kambi odds. DraftKings and BetRivers do as well.

DraftKings hopes to transition to its own technology later this year, but for now, it is using Kambi.

Another sportsbook launch would typically be great news for line shoppers, but because Barstool also uses Kambi, there’s no added benefit in that regard.

However, sportsbooks generally have some sort of promotional offer when they launch. Barstool is not yet live, but we’ll keep you posted with its opening deals.

How has Barstool performed in other states?

While Barstool isn’t dominating sports betting in the US, it’s fared well in Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Illinois is the third state in which it will launch online.

In Pennsylvania, it is the No. 3 operator by handle after FanDuel and DraftKings, but a fairly distant third at that. In Michigan, it was the No. 3 operator in online handle in January behind FanDuel.

It’s going to be quite a challenge to crack the top three in Illinois, though. It can certainly happen, but it won’t be easy.

DraftKings, FanDuel and BetRivers led Illinois in handle in December, in that order. BetRivers, which was third, took in $111.2 million worth of bets.

PointsBet, which was fourth, posted a handle of $32 million.

In all likelihood, Barstool will slot in between BetRivers and PointsBet to start.

There’s a decent chance it will pass BetRivers eventually, but it will be hard-pressed to jump either FanDuel or DraftKings based on what we’ve seen in other markets.

New operators should raise Illinois’ ceiling

Illinois is currently the fourth-largest sports betting market in the US. It posted a December handle of $491.7 million.

That’s despite only having five online sportsbooks that month, a smaller number than its fellow top states.

Barstool will be the first online sportsbook to launch in IL since William Hill, and after a few months of explosive growth, the state’s numbers have leveled off a bit in the past few months.

Since we expect Barstool to perform well, its launch should raise the ceiling for Illinois sports betting.

That’s also true of BetMGM and Unibet, the next two operators we expect to see in the Land of Lincoln. Now that FanDuel has officially transferred its license to its race track, BetMGM Illinois shouldn’t be too far away.

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Joe Boozell

Joe Boozell has also been a college sports writer for NCAA.com since 2015. His work has also appeared in Bleacher Report, FoxSports.com and NBA.com. Growing up, Boozell squared off against both Anthony Davis and Frank Kaminsky in the Chicagoland basketball scene ... you can imagine how that went.

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