Circa’s Jeff Benson Says Something Unique Coming To Illinois Sports Betting Market

Written By C.J. Pierre on May 31, 2023 - Last Updated on July 5, 2023
Circa Sportsbook Las Vegas

The director of operations for the newest Illinois sports betting company told PlayIllinois that Circa Sportsbook is bringing something unique to the Prairie State.

“What we are going to be able to offer bettors immediately with our app and our physical location, and what we’re ultimately going to be able to grow into is a sportsbook that I would say is probably 80-85% of what we have here at Circa (Las Vegas),” said Jeff Benson, referring to the lavish retail sportsbook the company operates in Nevada that includes the famed Stadium Swim.

“We think it’s going to be a real game-changer for those folks in the Midwest. We think it is certainly going to drive a ton of business for us.”

Circa has received its license to operate online sports betting and retail sports wagering in Illinois. The Nevada-based sportsbook operator got its sports wagering management services provider license from the Illinois Gaming Board.

Benson said the goal is for Circa to launch sometime in August as the newest Illinois sportsbook. He said the operator is excited to expand its footprint to Illinois.

Circa will launch an online sportsbook in Illinois and open a retail sportsbook at The Temporary by American Place Casino, a Full House Resorts property in Waukegan that opened on Feb. 17.

Circa’s Jeff Benson: “We’re in it for the long game.”

When Circa launches in Illinois, it will become the eighth legal online sportsbook in Illinois. That puts the operator in a pretty decent starting spot. The market isn’t flooded with sports wagering options.

Benson touted the company’s customer service. He also added that Circa Sports customers shouldn’t worry about returning if they win big. The operator has no limits, and bettors won’t be cut off. He said they are continuing to add to their betting portfolio, but there are no intentions of directly challenging the “big boys” of the sports betting market.

“I don’t think we’re ever going to be in the category of a FanDuel or DraftKings in the sense of how deep our menu is going to be, “said Benson. “Anything that we put on our board, you’re going to get a fair bet. For us, we don’t think a fair bet is $2.37. We think a fair bet is to win a healthy, healthy amount.”

Benson said Circa will be something different that hasn’t been seen yet in the Illinois market. However, he admits that they won’t appeal to everyone.

“We’re in it for the long game. We’re never going to be able to spend or out-bonus the ‘big boys,’ and that’s certainly something that we don’t want to try to do,” said Benson. “For us, it is just about being ourselves, being organic and doing the things that we think are important and the things we think resonate with our customers.”

What Circa is expecting from the Illinois Sports Betting market

When Circa Sports goes live in Illinois, the goal is to launch both the online sports betting app and the retail location simultaneously. With any luck, it will happen just in time for the start of the 2023 NFL season.

When asked what Circa expects from the people of Illinois, Benson said he just can’t wait for folks to show up.

“We just expect people to show up and bet. It’s really as simple as that,” said Benson. “We hope people are price sensitive. We hope to serve and cater to any bettors that can’t get down at these other places in Illinois.”

Benson also said that Circa doesn’t mind working on the low end of the totem pole. He adds that they are fine with folks only looking to them when they have the best odds.

“We’ll take any and all business we can get and we’ll be thankful for anybody who chooses us,” said Benson.

Benson said there are still some hoops to jump through with the Illinois Gaming Board before the eventual launch, including getting approval for software licensing. However, he said things are moving in the right direction. We’ll just have to see what happens over these next few months.

Photo by John Locher / AP Photo
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C.J. Pierre

C.J. Pierre is a Lead Writer at Play Illinois. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN and is an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. He recently dove into tribal casino and online gambling news. He also covered the launch of sports betting in Arizona. C.J. has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career, most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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