Brush Up On Caliente Interactive, Which Is On Track To Be Illinois’ Newest Sportsbook

Written By Matt Boecker on April 29, 2022

A new sportsbook is on track to enter the Illinois marketplace and it’s likely you’ve never heard of them: Caliente Interactive

In the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) meeting held on Thursday, the IGB denied Fubo Sportsbook’s request for an Illinois sportsbook license. 

IGB administrator Marcus Fruchter also mentioned that a third unknown sportsbook license applicant withdrew its bid.

Fubo, a popular television streaming provider, has sportsbooks in Iowa and Arizona that allow you to pair a Fubo TV subscription with your sports betting account to create an interactive watching experience.

Instead of Fubo, the IGB decided to approve the request of Caliente to potentially become a sports betting option for residents of the Prairie State. This was an unexpected decision and there isn’t much information online about Caliente, adding to the mystique of this decision by the IGB. 

Caliente is not yet fully licensed but appears to be on track to receive one. It will work with the IGB over the coming months to receive final approval. Tekkorp, a NASDAQ-listed blank check company, appears to be licensing the Caliente brand. 

Here are some important things to know about the sportsbook that could be entering the Land of Lincoln in the coming months: 

Caliente’s popularity in Mexico

Caliente Interactive was founded in 2014 and is based out of Tijuana, Mexico. It is Mexico’s most popular sportsbook.  

Entering Illinois will also be Caliente’s introduction into the United States, as they currently don’t operate in any US states.

Caliente owned by Grupo Caliente

Caliente is owned by a larger conglomerate known as Grupo Caliente that owns casinos, off-track betting and sports betting parlors in Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Austria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela and the Caribbean. Groupo Caliente was founded all the way back in 1916, and has been around much longer than the company’s digital arm. 

Outside of betting, Grupo Caliente also has its hand in business ventures like Globalsat, which is a satellite communication company based in the United States. The group also owns Estadio Caliente, a multi-purpose stadium in Tijuana. It is the home pitch for Club Tijuana, a soccer team in Mexico’s top league, Liga MX.

History of Grupo Caliente

Grupo Caliente formed in 1916 and owned the original version of the Agua Caliente Racetrack, now known as Caliente Hipodromo in Tijuana. In 1929, the racetrack hosted greyhound and horse racing.

In 1998, Grupo Caliente began diversifying its betting options when it introduced bingo and electronic gaming terminals. 

Nowadays, the racetrack portion of the entertainment only features greyhound races.

Two more Illinois licenses available

In the Thursday meeting, Fruchter said he would share more information later on regarding the two other licenses available for new sportsbooks in Illinois.

This could give Fubo Sportsbook another opportunity to get approval from the IGB.

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Matt Boecker

Matt Boecker is a 2020 graduate of Northern Illinois University hailing from Chicago. Boecker specializes in coverage of sports betting and legalization. Former teammates and coworkers describe him as a nice guy who tries hard and loves the game.

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