With seven online sportsbooks currently operating in Illinois, some new competition will be making its way into the market. One of those may be Betway.
On July 27, at a regularly-scheduled Illinois Gaming Board meeting, Betway was announced as the lone “winning bidder” of a process to determine the suitability of up to three online-only Illinois sports betting operators to pursue a license.
IGB administrator Marcus Fruchter said during the meeting:
“Importantly, being found qualified and identified as the winning bidder is neither a finding of suitability nor a grant of licensure. It is simply a finding, based on information presently known by the gaming board, that the applicant and its key persons meet the minimum suitability criteria in the Act.
“A winning bidder deemed suitable following the IGB’s investigation could then become licensed upon board approval and payment of the $20 million statutory licensing fee.”
PlayIllinois takes a look at what Illinois sports betting enthusiasts can expect if Betway does launch in the state.
How Betway plans to enter the Illinois sportsbook market
Betway was founded in 2006. It offers betting and gambling products, including sports betting and online casino in several markets worldwide. If the operator ultimately secures an online-only license to operate in Illinois, it would allow it to take sports bets without partnering with one of the Illinois casinos or racetracks.
That would also mean that Betway doesn’t have to share its revenue with a partner like Illinois’ other sports betting operators. At the same time, Betway can’t accept in-person wagers in the Prairie State.
The cost of an online-only license is also much higher, coming in at $20 million. Land-based sports betting operators pay a $10 million license fee in Illinois. Both online and retail betting companies must also pay a $1 million renewal fee every four years if they wish to stay in the Illinois market.
What Betway’s online sports betting site has to offer
Betway is owned by Super Group and operates in nine states, with a pending launch in Massachusetts.
The operator’s online sports betting site has a sleek and user-friendly interface. It is also known for having some of the best bonuses around while still maintaining solid odds for popular events.
You’ll find a nice variety of sports to wager on, from the mainstream pro sports leagues to more niche activities like cycling, ping-pong, eSports and snooker.
Betway’s live betting has been finely tuned, thanks to its global experience. Customers will see a healthy number of live betting options across various sports. You’ll also find occasional live streaming for specific in-play betting markets. However, in some cases, players will need to have action on an event before being able to stream it.
In other states, new Betway players are offered a bonus bet of up to $500. If your first bet on the site loses, you will receive a first bet reset as a Betway bonus bet. You don’t even need a bonus code. You just have to sign up with Betway to claim your bonus. And if that first bet loses, you will have one week to bet with the bonus money after Betway deposits it into your account.
Betway has flirted with Illinois before
Betway was one of four original applicants for an online-only license when the IGB first initiated the bidding process in 2021. However, it withdrew its application shortly after submission.
Earlier this year, the Illinois legislature flirted with legalizing online casino apps, which Betway offers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Ultimately the proposal didn’t go through. The potential of online casinos launching in Illinois could be the reason Betway is trying again.
Should Betway ultimately be approved for a license and pay the $20 million fee, it is likely to be the 10th online sports betting site to launch in Illinois.
Meanwhile, Circa’s Sportsbook is hoping to launch in Illinois by mid-September.
At the July 27 IGB meeting, Hard Rock Bet also received approval to operate retail and online sports betting in Illinois. Hard Rock officials hope to launch within the coming months.