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, yes, you can.

Sports bettors in Illinois can register for legal online sportsbooks completely over the internet. However, that may be the case only temporarily. While the Sports Wagering Act states that bettors must visit an Illinois casino to create an online account, the COVID-19 pandemic has 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. He extended the EO again until March, in response to extremely high coronavirus numbers in Illinois.

Without it, new sports betting customers in Illinois would have to visit a retail sportsbook partner in order to complete their account registration.

However, even if Pritzker extends the executive order again and again, it will eventually expire, and the in-person registration mandate will resume.

The Illinois law says the in-person mandate sunsets when the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) issues the first of three online-only operator licenses. 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 March 2020 when BetRivers Sportsbook took its first bets. With that in mind, the face-to-face mandate should expire in September 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 foot 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 depends on whether Pritzker is permitting sportsbooks to accept registrations online (see the top of the page for the latest news).

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

DraftKings Sportsbook in Illinois allows bettors to register on their phones from the parking lot. The property, DraftKings at Casino Queen in East St. Louis, has 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 potential BetRivers, FanDuel, PointsBet and William Hill sportsbook customers, you have to go into the related casinos or off-track betting sites to complete your 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 sites’ sportsbook operator.

Retail sportsbook locations in Illinois

Online sportsbookLaunch dateCasino/OTBAddressDistance from Chicago
BetRiversRetail: March 9, 2020
Online: June 18, 2020
Rivers Casino3000 S. River Road, Des Plaines17 miles
DraftKingsRetail: August 5, 2020
Online: August 5, 2020
DraftKings at Casino Queen200 S. Front St., East St. Louis309 miles
FanDuelRetail: August 19, 2020
Online: August 28, 2020
Par-A-Dice Casino21 Blackjack Blvd., East Peoria157 miles
PointsBetRetail: October 1, 2020
Online: September 12, 2020
Hawthorne Race Course3501 S. Laramie Ave., Cicero10 miles
PointsBetRetail: October 1, 2020
Online: September 12, 2020
Club Hawthorne Bloomington Normal*1304 Cross Creek Dr., Bloomington137 miles
PointsBetOnline: September 12, 2020Club Hawthorne Corliss*11203 S Corliss St., Chicago-
PointsBetRetail: October 1, 2020
Online: September 12, 2020
Club Hawthorne Crestwood13148 Rivercrest Dr., Crestwood26 miles
PointsBetOnline: September 12, 2020Club Hawthorne Joliet*2450 Jefferson St., Joliet45 miles
PointsBetOnline: September 12, 2020Club Hawthorne Lansing*17030 Torrence Ave., Lansing26 miles
PointsBetOnline: September 12, 2020Club Hawthorne Mokena*19031 Old LaGrange Rd., Mokena33 miles
PointsBetRetail: October 1, 2020
Online: September 12, 2020
Club Hawthorne Oakbrook Terrace17W648 22nd St., Oakbrook Terrace29 miles
PointsBetOnline: September 12, 2020Club Hawthorne Ottawa*110 W Etna Rd., Ottawa81 miles
PointsBetOnline: September 12, 2020Club Hawthorne Peoria*3225 N Dries Ln., Peoria171 miles
PointsBetRetail: October 1, 2020
Online: September 12, 2020
Club Hawthorne Prospect Heights1250 S River Rd., Prospect Heights26 miles
William HillRetail: August 3, 2020
Online: September 24, 2020
Grand Victoria Casino250 S Grove Ave., Elgin40 miles

*=sports betting service not yet offered but planned for the future

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 if in-person registration 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 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 start to 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, which is largely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s a timeline of events surrounding sports betting and the pandemic:

  • 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 order through Oct. 17.
  • Aug. 21, 2020: Pritzker issues a new executive order suspending physical registration again.
  • July 27, 2020: Pritzker lets 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 FAQs

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 Iowa and Nevada have such mandates. Iowa’s mandate expires 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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