Online sports betting registration in Illinois is back — and will be here to stay.
As of Saturday, March 5, you will no longer have to visit a retail sportsbook in Illinois to sign up for a legal online sportsbook. Instead, you can register for an Illinois sports betting account on your phone or computer.
And that’s it.
This regulation update is just in time to bet on March Madness. Thanks to this policy fix, there will be more people partaking in the legal gaming market in Illinois, which means further record-breaking betting totals for the state.
Here’s what the policy update means.
We have at least one new IL sportsbook ( *cough* BetMGM)
It’s been a long time coming for BetMGM, which applied for a license way back in September 2020. The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) gave the operator the official thumbs up in late January. Considered to be a top-four sports betting app nationally, BetMGM Sportsbook will likely be a serious player in the Illinois gaming market.
By the end of this year, Illinois could likely have a double-digit number of online sportsbooks, which is on par with other states that have legal sports betting.
There are three mystery operators for online-only sports betting licenses, and we could potentially learn their identities on March 10 when the IGB meets.
Caesars has also launched a ‘new and improved’ sports betting app. While it’s not technically a new launch, it is essentially being treated as such.
Current Illinois online sportsbooks ready for ‘re-launch’
As of Saturday morning, Illinois’s six online sportsbooks won’t require you to visit their casino partner to finalize your betting account.
Signing up at PointsBet, DraftKings, FanDuel and Caesars at William Hill won’t require any travel. By 10 a.m. March 5, you can download any or all of the apps from your couch, favorite breakfast place or even at a friend’s house. You just need to be within state lines.
So this means no need to drive to Aurora to sign up for Barstool Sportsbook, which only had a three-week window to register users remotely before Gov. JB Pritzker brought back in-person registration in April.
Besides less travel time, many benefits abound for Illinois sports bettors. In general, expect to see a lot of sportsbook promotions — and more competitive offers, especially with BetMGM’s launch.
More Illinois sports betting revenue
What does the sportsbook registration update mean for state revenue? The short answer: Good, good things.
Illinois took in over $7 billion in bets in 2021, and that total should increase in 2022. The high-water mark for monthly bet totals was $840.4 million in October.
Expect the state to clear $1 billion in monthly handle eventually, perhaps in the fall of 2022. March will likely fall shy of that mark but expect to see a state record in handle, regardless. That could also mean records in operator and tax revenue.
And, let’s not forget there will likely be at least 10 online sportsbooks available.
On again, off again tale of online sportsbook registration
It’s been a long, strange trip to get to this point. Illinois has flip-flopped between in-person and online registration multiple times during the pandemic.
PlayIllinois has been covering the timeline of events: