BetMGM Wants To Launch In Illinois Sooner Rather Than Later

Written By Joe Boozell on January 20, 2022 - Last Updated on March 5, 2022

Editor’s Note: BetMGM in Illinois went live on March 5, 2022, along with mobile registration. 

BetMGM Sportsbook plans to launch an online sportsbook in Illinois in the first quarter of 2022, according to a release. And now, we know that the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) plans to vote on whether to issue BetMGM a license on Thursday, Jan. 27.

Assuming the IGB votes yes, we are likely very close to a BetMGM launch.

BetMGM is the most prominent US sportsbook not currently in Illinois. Once it is, it should compete with the likes of DraftKings, FanDuel, etc.

The release states that BetMGM is:

“Expecting to launch online sportsbooks in Illinois and Louisiana in the first quarter as well as retail sportsbooks in Puerto Rico and both online sportsbook and iGaming in Ontario later this year.”

Online registration returns to Illinois on March 5. Obviously, BetMGM would want to be live in time for March Madness betting, which happens in the middle of the month.

But now, we try to answer the all-important questions: When will BetMGM launch, and how?

Could BetMGM go live before March?

It all depends on how BetMGM is planning to enter Illinois.

Right now, it has two clear options. First, it could pair with Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria for market access. BetMGM has ties to Boyd Gaming, which owns Par-A-Dice.

This would seem to be an attractive option for a few reasons. First, it would be cheaper than a mobile-only license by about $10 million. Mobile-only licenses cost $20 million apiece.

Second, it could give BetMGM a chance to launch sooner than March 5.

Or, BetMGM could be one of the three mystery applicants for an online-only license. While the price tag is steep, BetMGM has deep pockets. And though launching before March would be nice, it’s not necessarily a needle-mover, as Illinois still has in-person registration until then.

However, BetMGM could get a leg up on the competition if it is prepared to launch well before March Madness. If you’re a sportsbook, you’d rather launch well in advance of one of the biggest betting events of the year instead of right in the middle of it.

How BetMGM stacks up nationally

According to BetMGM, it is the No. 2 sports betting and iGaming operator across markets in which it’s live with a 24% market share between August-November 2021.

It’s considered to be on a similar tier with DraftKings and FanDuel. BetMGM is also a prominent online casino operator, should Illinois eventually legalize it.

CEO Adam Greenblatt said:

“2022 is a critical year, where the leading national operators will reach critical mass, paving the way for the next phase of the sector’s financial evolution. With the support of our shareholders, our technology and data platform, brand and omni-channel strategy, we look to the future with confidence.”

BetMGM was one of the operators to launch in New York this month. Greenblatt said:

Look, we’ve broken all of our records. It was the best first day of any live launch, we broke records for most registrations, for most first-time depositors, for deposits, for bets, for handle.

“And what I found particularly pleasing was our technology performed flawlessly – in line with our expectations, mind you, notwithstanding the volume – and linked to that our acquisition-funnel KPIs were also very pleasing.”

Illinois could see a surge of new sportsbooks

BetMGM will be the most notable new operator to join the Illinois mix in 2022, but it certainly won’t be the only one.

Unibet, Bally Bet, theScore BetGolden Nugget and WynnBET have all publicly expressed IL interest. And there may be more lurking in the shadows.

While that’s great news for consumers, the flood of applications will be a regulatory challenge for the IGB, which hasn’t been known for its speed in the past. Sportsbooks will want to launch by March Madness, but it will be interesting to see how many actually can.

Regardless, we are close to a “second launch” of sorts in Illinois. And BetMGM is the headliner.

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Joe Boozell

Joe Boozell has also been a college sports writer for since 2015. His work has also appeared in Bleacher Report, and 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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