How to Register for an Illinois Sportsbook

The answers to if and when you can register for an online sportsbook in Illinois has been a roller coaster. We, at PlayIllinois, can give you the long and the short version of the tale of online sportsbook registration here.

Can I register for an Illinois sportsbook online?

Yes, but not completely.

Sports bettors in Illinois must visit the retail casino to register for a legal online sportsbook.

Online registration has been in place since late August 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But on Friday, April 3, 2021, Gov. JB Pritzker let the Executive Order 2020-41 expire. Now, sports bettors in Illinois must visit a retail sportsbook in order to complete their sign up for an online account.

The Sports Wagering Act states that bettors must visit an Illinois casino to create an online account; however, the COVID-19 pandemic had thrown a wretch in that regulation. In response, Gov. JB Pritzker put an executive order in place in August 2020 to allow for online sportsbook registration. After several monthly renewals, it ended on April 3, 2021.

The Illinois law says the in-person mandate sunsets when the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) issues the first of three online-only operator licenses, which was on June 11, 2020.

The law bars the IGB from issuing any of those licenses until 540 days after the first brick-and-mortar sportsbook starts taking bets. That clock began ticking in June 2020 when BetRivers Sportsbook took its first bets.

With that in mind, the face-to-face mandate has the potential to expire in December 2021.

When that occurs, residents and visitors who haven’t yet registered for any online sportsbook in Illinois will have to make plans to do visit their land-based partner. Furthermore, there are a few pieces of information you’ll need to have on hand. The first is an update on whether you need to step inside the casino or off-track betting (OTB) site.

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Do I have to go inside an Illinois casino or OTB site to register?

Well, it depends.

It also depends on the sportsbook from which you’re registering. Illinois law doesn’t explicitly state you must register from inside the four walls of a brick-and-mortar casino.

Barstool and DraftKings Sportsbook in Illinois  allows you to register on your phone from the parking lot. Barstool at Hollywood Casino in Aurora and DraftKings at Casino Queen in East St. Louis, have set up Bluetooth beacons and WiFi in its parking lot to satisfy the state’s requirement for you to be on-site when you register.

The other four online sportsbooks in Illinois use a traditional route to registration. For example, BetRivers, FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing, PointsBet and William Hill sportsbook customers have to go into the related casinos or off-track betting sites to complete account registration.

Either way, it’s a quick process. In fact, it may take you longer to get to and from the casino or OTB then the amount of time you spend there. Here are the addresses you will need for in-person registration and each Illinois sportsbook operator.

Retail sportsbook locations in Illinois

Online sportsbookLaunch dateCasino/OTBAddressDistance from Chicago
BarstoolOnline: March 11, 2021
Retail: March 11, 20201
Hollywood Casino Aurora1 W. New York St., Aurora 41 miles
BetRiversRetail: March 9, 2020
Online: June 18, 2020
Rivers Casino3000 S. River Road, Des Plaines17 miles
DraftKingsRetail: Aug. 5, 2020
Online: Aug. 5, 2020
DraftKings at Casino Queen200 S. Front St., East St. Louis309 miles
FanDuelOnline: Aug. 28, 2020
Retail: March 1, 2021
FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing9301 Collinsville Road, Collinsville284 miles
PointsBetRetail: Oct. 1, 2020
Online: Sept. 12, 2020
Hawthorne Racecourse3501 S. Laramie Ave., Stickney10 miles
PointsBetRetail: Oct. 1, 2020
Online: Sept. 12, 2020
Club Hawthorne Crestwood13148 Rivercrest Drive, Crestwood26 miles
PointsBetRetail: March 16, 2021
Online: Sept. 12, 2020
Club Hawthorne Player's Pub & Grill1250 S River Road, Prospect Heights26 miles
William HillRetail: Aug. 3, 2020
Online: Sept. 15, 2020
Grand Victoria Casino250 S Grove Ave., Elgin40 miles

Now that you know where to go, you need to know what you need to take when you register. It’s a simple process, and even when in-person registration in Illinois is in effect, you can do most of the process online.

What information do I need to share in order to register?

For the most part, registering for an Illinois sportsbook is no more complicated than registering for an account on any number of online shopping apps/websites. It’s also standard across all the sportsbooks in IL.

You can start the process on your computer, smartphone or tablet. If you’re using a mobile device, make sure the app you’re downloading is for the sportsbook in Illinois. Some sportsbooks have apps specific to other jurisdictions.

The same goes for desktop website users. Regardless of what device you’re using, you’ll have to agree to let the website use location services to identify your position.

You’ll also have to share the following identifying information:

  • Legal name
  • Mailing address
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number (for tax purposes)
  • Email address

After you’ve gone through all the registration steps you can complete online, you’ll need to visit the retail sportsbook location. Present your government-issued photo ID to the attendant, and he or she will click the computer mouse a few times and you’re good to go.

After you have completed your registration, you can make a deposit into your account and place bets right there. Alternatively, you can use your computer or mobile device as well.

History of sportsbook registration in Illinois

Despite that legal sports betting in Illinois began in March 2020, there is already an interesting history of the registration component to this entertainment form, largely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s a timeline of events surrounding sports betting and the pandemic:

  • April 2, 2021: Gov. JB Pritzker allows Executive Order 2020-41 to expire, and the in-person registration mandate returns on April 4.
  • March 5, 2021: Pritzker renews the executive order again until April 3.
  • Feb. 5, 2021: Pritzker renews the executive order to allow online registration until March 6.
  • Jan. 8, 2021: Pritzker renews the executive order until Feb. 6.
  • Dec. 11, 2020: Pritzker renews the executive order again until Jan. 9, 2021.
  • Nov. 13, 2020: Due to high COVID-19 case numbers, Pritzker allows mobile sports betting registration through Dec. 12.
  • Oct. 16, 2020: Pritzker extends executive order to allow online sportsbook registration through Nov. 14.
  • Sept. 14, 2020: Pritzker extends the order through Oct. 17.
  • Aug. 21, 2020: Pritzker issues a new executive order suspending physical registration again.
  • July 27, 2020: Pritzker lets the executive order expire and in-person mandate returns.
  • July 9, 2019: Pritzker signs law legalizing sports betting in IL with in-person registration requirement for online wagering.
  • June 18, 2020: BetRivers becomes the first legal online sportsbook in Illinois.
  • June 5, 2020: Pritzker signs executive order suspending in-person registration requirement.
  • March 9, 2020: BetRivers becomes the first legal retail sportsbook in IL.

IL Sportsbook Registration FAQ

Why does the in-person registration mandate exist?

The short answer to this is the state included this mandate to keep DraftKings and FanDuel from having an advantage over competitors because of their large rolls of daily fantasy sports (DFS) customers. What other states require bettors to register for online wagering in person? Currently, only Nevada has such mandate. Iowa’s mandate expired on New Year’s Day 2021, however. Rhode Island originally had a similar requirement but has since repealed it.

Why do some people criticize in-person registration?

Opponents argue it creates an incentive for bettors to continue to use illegal, offshore sports betting websites. Additionally, there is no evidence that face-to-face registration improves outcomes on preventing match-fixing or increasing responsible gambling.

Will I need to re-register when the in-person mandate returns?

No, if you registered online while the in-person mandate was suspended, you will not have to register again when it goes back into effect. Your registration met all the state’s requirements at the time you registered.

Do I have to be a legal resident of Illinois to register?

No, but you must be at least 21 years old and supply the sportsbook with all requested identifying documents/information.

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