William Hill Opens Sportsbook At Grand Victoria Casino In Illinois

Written By Derek Helling on August 3, 2020 - Last Updated on June 23, 2021

Until Saturday, bettors in Illinois had one option for legal sports betting. Over the weekend, William Hill Illinois doubled that count, at least on the retail side.

William Hill Sportsbook opened its betting windows at Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin over the weekend. It’s a precursor to more expansion on the horizon.

Details on the now-open William Hill Illinois Sportsbook

Saturday’s first-ever wager at the book was ceremonious, but that ended up being its extent. The event the bet was predicated upon, the Cincinnati Reds versus Detroit Tigers game, ended up being rained out.

Bettors shouldn’t take that as a bad omen, however. The space has all the amenities, including:

  • Three betting windows (Although only two are operating now to allow for social distancing.)
  • It’s close to the Grand Victoria’s bar on the casino floor.
  • Several high-top tables.
  • Seating options available for prolonged sports viewing.
  • Multiple high-definition monitors.
  • Betting hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
  • Safety measures, like frequent sanitation and a mask mandate, are in place.

The retail launch of William Hill in IL is a key component of doing the same for the online component. Illinois law requires bettors who wish to wager online to register for their accounts in person.

William Hill hasn’t disclosed a target date for the William Hill Illinois app and website to go live, but it’s in the brand’s plan.

It will likely be the second legal online sportsbook operator in the state as well, as BetRivers is currently the lone player. William Hill does have some competition in that regard, however.

Playing for second online in IL

William Hill’s strongest competition in the Prairie State recently got some good news. The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) issued a master license to the Hawthorne Race Course last Thursday.

That facility has a management services contract with PointsBet. The IGB gave PointsBet its license to operate Hawthorne’s online and retail sports betting platform early last month.

By clearing all those regulatory hurdles, PointsBet is in the best position to be the next brand in the Land of Lincoln. The retail launch, and online to follow, could come any day.

The IGB has also given similar permits to DraftKings and FanDuel. DraftKings is the closest to launch out of those two, seemingly only waiting for the IGB to license its facility partner, the Casino Queen in East St. Louis.

FanDuel has yet to arrange access to the state through an IL brick-and-mortar facility. FanDuel could opt to go it alone, as the state will eventually grant as many as three online-only licenses. However, FanDuel would have to shell out $20 million for one of those licenses and wait the better part of two years.

Within a few weeks, bettors in Illinois could potentially have four online wagering options. For now, they do have more than one option for retail betting, and that’s a step in the right direction.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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