A late Friday tweet and a surprise executive order from Gov. JB Pritzker means this is the start of a great weekend for Illinois sports bettors.
Executive order removes in-person registration requirement
Late Friday afternoon, Jeremy Kudon tweeted the following:
MOBILE SIGN UP IS BACK IN ILLINOIS! Thank you @GovPritzker
— Jeremy Kudon (@JKudon) August 21, 2020
Kudon is a sports betting lobbyist for Orrick. The firm often represents DraftKings and FanDuel on sports betting and daily fantasy sports issues around the country. The clout drew attention to a recent executive order by Pritzker that addresses a number of state actions to take regarding the coronavirus.
Included within the order is a reinstitution of Executive Order 2020-41, which suspended the in-person registration requirement for Illinois sportsbooks. That suspension will stay in effect through at least Sept. 19.
Kudon was critical of Pritzker in comments to PlayIllinois when the governor removed the in-person suspension last month:
“I don’t understand how the governor, in so many other instances, is limiting contact and on this one thing he is saying, ‘You know what, we’re OK with people congregating in casinos.’ Illinois shouldn’t be forcing people to go into casinos now to do something that can clearly be done over a mobile phone.”
There is not total clarity about why EO 2020-41 was lifted to begin with. Reps from Rivers Sportsbook denied that they requested the order to be lifted. Pritzker’s office claimed that, when casinos resumed operations as part of Phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan, Pritzker presumed the order was no longer necessary.
With COVID-19 cases rising, Pritzker taking more action
Illinois COVID-19 cases have been trending up for the past two months and now surpass over 215,000 cases. The steady rise in new cases drove Pritzker to action with this new executive order, EO 2020-52.
Casino Queen in East St Louis was already dealing with increased restrictions from Pritzker imposed earlier this week. Encouraging customers to drive to the casino to register for DraftKings Sportsbook with these new impositions did not send a very clear message from Springfield. Now, this new order means Illinois sports bettors have at least a month to open up online sportsbook accounts at BetRivers and DraftKings without a trip to the casino.
What does this mean for IL online betting?
While the order could stay in place for more than four weeks, operators that are not in the state will nonetheless have a tight window to launch and compete with BetRivers and DraftKings. PointsBet, which was already close to launching, could be the next to go. However, given this week’s news about FanDuel’s plans with Par-A-Dice Casino, it seems that is another group that could mobilize to go mobile in Illinois quickly.