William Hill Is Live: What Illinois Sports Bettors Need To Know About It

Posted on September 24, 2020 - Last Updated on October 2, 2020

William Hill Sportsbook launched last week, the fifth mobile sportsbook in Illinois.

Thankfully for William Hill (and other sportsbooks), Gov. JB Pritzker extended the remote registration window until at least Oct. 17, which gave William Hill more than four days to register Illinois sports betting customers.

Here’s more information about William Hill Sportsbook and where it fits into the Illinois gaming picture.

William Hill offers $300 risk-free bet

William Hill is offering new Illinois users a risk-free bet of up to $300. However, there was some confusion about its initial promotion.

In its first press release, William Hill said it would offer a 100% match, up to $300. The next day, it changed course, offering a risk-free bet.

William Hill took some Twitter lashings as a result.

Competitor BetRivers offers a 100% match, up to $250, while DraftKings, FanDuel and PointsBet have rolled out versions of no-brainer bets that amount to free money for users.

William Hill is also the only sportsbook that asks for a driver’s license or ID card at sign-up, which has caused some registration hiccups.

For example, if your address exceeds a certain character limit, you won’t be able to register. A William Hill spokesperson said its team is working to extend the address character limit.

Illinois’ other four online sportsbooks ask for a Social Security number at sign-up, but not for a driver’s license or ID card.

Regardless, William Hill could succeed in Illinois

The Illinois market isn’t saturated yet. We know there is a ton of sports betting interest in the Land of Lincoln.

As of last week, 230,000 sports betting accounts were created in Illinois.

That’s as Illinois mobile registration has only been available for two months, and for one of those months, BetRivers was the only option. Also consider that there were barely any sports available for wagering.

Illinois’ first sports betting revenue report was also promising.

The state generated $51.4 million in July handle, and again, that was with one mobile sportsbook and no NBA, NHL, NFL or college football.

Fast-forward to September. The state hosts five online sportsbooks, along with a loaded sports calendar every week.

The point? All five Illinois online sportsbooks should be able to succeed to varying degrees.

Illinois will likely post gaudy handle numbers in September and October. There isn’t an overwhelming amount of competition. By comparison, neighboring state Indiana hosts nine sportsbooks, and Colorado is home to 15 online sportsbooks.

Side note: It will be fascinating to see who hits the online market next because there is no obvious candidate. Based on the market access deal with Argosy Casino Alton, Unibet Sportsbook appears to be the most likely.

Retail location has been live since August

William Hill’s retail sportsbook is at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin. It went live in early August.

The more time there is to register users online, the fewer retail locations matter for sign-ups. With that said, Elgin is about an hour away from Chicago and is the seventh-largest city in Illinois. So it’s in a nice spot.

PointsBet and BetRivers have retail presences closer to Chicago, while DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook chose to partner with downstate operators.

Photo by AP Photo / Julio Cortez
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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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