Pritzker Extends Mobile Registration; Could Be Green Light For More IL Sportsbooks

Posted on October 16, 2020 - Last Updated on October 17, 2020

Once again, Gov. JB Pritzker renews his executive order to continue allowing mobile sports betting registration in Illinois.

The executive order will be in place until at least Nov. 14. For at least another month, Illinois sports bettors will not have to visit a casino in order to sign up for an online sports betting account.

The decision comes as Illinois recently recorded its highest COVID-19 seven-day, rolling case average count to date. On Oct. 12, that number spiked to 2,642.

Here’s what the renewal means.

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Illinois poised for big October, November revenue numbers

In August, the Illinois sports betting market posted $140 million in¬†handle. That was in an environment where online registration wasn’t allowed until Aug. 21, and BetRivers was the only mobile sportsbook live for the entire month.

We don’t have September numbers yet, but expectations are high. With mobile registration in place for the whole month, five online sportsbooks and the return of football betting, handle should skyrocket past $200 million.

Now that Pritzker has renewed remote registration for another month, October and November also warrant high projections.

In August, Illinois sportsbooks brought in about $7.2 million in revenue. That figure should hit eight figures in each of the next three revenue reports.

And the more the sportsbooks make, the more tax revenue for the state. Tack on the health risk to go with it, and it would have been hard for Pritzker to justify a return to in-person registration.

Opportunity to gain ground with mobile registration

In August, BetRivers dominated the marketplace.

It recorded about $118 million in handle, which was 84% of Illinois’ total. DraftKings wasn’t easily accessible until Aug. 21, and FanDuel launched on Aug. 28.

Still, that’s a ridiculous market share.

But the September revenue report will be telling.

Then, DraftKings and FanDuel will have had an entire month of mobile registration under their belts. PointsBet and William Hill also went online in mid-September.

Ever since DraftKings launched, it has been in BetRivers’ interest for the in-person registration mandate to remain in effect.

That’s because it got off to a huge head start in customer acquisition in June and July, as we can see in the August revenue report. BetRivers’ retail sportsbook is also in Des Plaines, which is close to Chicago.

By contrast, DraftKings and FanDuel have partnered with downstate casinos.

For every day that mobile registration is permitted, the non-BetRivers sportsbooks have a better chance to gain ground.

With that said, considering BetRivers’ sizable lead, it’s still in a great spot in Illinois regardless of what happens with in-person registration.

Could new operators join the fray?

A new sportsbook hasn’t launched in Illinois in over a month, which is a bit surprising considering how desirable of a market it is.

Pritzker’s latest extension offers more incentive for new operators to go live.

Unibet is the most obvious candidate to launch next. It has market access via Argosy Casino Alton, and parent company Penn National Gaming has a master Illinois license.

This would also seem like a prime opportunity for Barstool, but it apparently doesn’t have plans to launch in new states besides Michigan until 2021.

BetMGM looms as a possibility, but its pathway to market access remains unclear.

Photo by AP Photo / John Bazemore
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Joe Boozell

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