Few Winners, Many Losers Due To End Of Online Sports Betting Registration

Written By Joe Boozell on April 6, 2021 - Last Updated on April 30, 2021
illinois sportsbook winners losers

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker chose to end online sports betting registration on April 2, a move that will certainly have a ripple effect across the state.

The decision most negatively affects the betting consumer. It’s also tough on most IL sports betting operators, but not all.

Retail sportsbook locations in Illinois just became a lot more significant, and operators closest to Chicago have a leg up on the competition.

From an operator’s perspective, here are the winning and losing sportsbooks from Pritzker’s decision.

Winners: BetRivers, PointsBet

BetRivers and PointsBet have retail sportsbooks in the Chicagoland area. So, while some sportsbooks may not experience much growth at all during this period, BetRivers and PointsBet are well-positioned to continue acquiring customers.

Rivers Casino is in Des Plaines, about a 25-minute drive from Chicago, depending on your exact location.

The move is a win-win for Rivers. BetRivers Sportsbook should cut into DraftKings and FanDuel’s lead in the Illinois sports betting market, and this could also help increase foot traffic at the casino.

PointsBet Sportsbook, meanwhile, has three retail locations in the Chicagoland area (Stickney, Prospect Heights and Crestwood). It should soon add a fourth in Oakbrook.

In terms of monthly handle, PointsBet is a distant fourth among IL sportsbook operators. It certainly won’t be the market leader any time soon, but it could at least grow its user base during in-person registration while DraftKings and FanDuel could mostly remain flat.

That leads us into our “losers” section. Spoiler: There are many more losers than winners here.

Losers: Every other existing Illinois sportsbook

As previously mentioned, the move will likely stunt market growth for DraftKings and FanDuel.

The good news for the duo? Business is good in the Illinois market. Check out the revenue splits from January:

LicenseeOnline BrandTotal HandleOnline HandleRetail HandleTotal RevenueState TaxLocal Tax
Casino QueenDraftKings$244,196,209$243,538,843$657,366$16,423,303$2,334,761$154,716
Hawthorne Race CoursePointsBet$40,591,090$40,439,434$151,657$4,412,405$630,133$7,247
Grand VictoriaWilliam Hill$9,270,978$8,917,196$353,782$616,486$73,260$3,162
Hollywood JolietN/A$309,047$0$309,047$73,440$9,001$0
Hollywood AuroraN/A$260,106$0$260,106$37,939$3,065$0

DraftKings and FanDuel are dominating the IL sports betting market, and should continue to be successful in the Land of Lincoln.

BetRivers and PointsBet may cut into their chunk of the pie, but considering the users they’ve already acquired, it’s not all doom and gloom.

With that said, DraftKings and FanDuel are at a disadvantage in an in-person registration world due to their southwest Illinois retail locations.

Customers can only sign up for FanDuel at FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing in Collinsville. While the track could lure a good amount of St. Louis-area foot traffic, those people wouldn’t be able to go back to Missouri and bet on their phones, as sports betting is not legal in MO.

The same is true of DraftKings Sportsbook, where customers can only register at DraftKings at Casino Queen in East St. Louis.

As for existing operators, though, this is likely the toughest on Barstool Sportsbook.

Barstool recently launched in mid-March, several months after the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel. The operator only had less than a month to acquire online customers in Illinois.

Hollywood Casino Aurora is Barstool’s retail partner, and Aurora is the second-largest city in IL by population. That’s a plus, but it’s hard to find silver linings when you had about seven fewer months of remote registration than your competitors.

The March revenue report should come out in mid-May. We’ll know a lot more about how successful Barstool’s initial launch was then.

More losers: Every potential Illinois sportsbook

Launching a sportsbook in this Illinois environment can’t be an attractive proposition for incoming operators.

As of now, BetMGM and Unibet are pending applicants. BetMGM would likely partner with Par-A-Dice Casino, while Unibet has a market access deal with Argosy Casino Alton.

If approved by the Illinois Gaming Board, it’s hard to see either thriving right off the bat with in-person registration, considering how much of a head start other operators have had.

TheScore Bet also has a market access deal. But joining any new market with established operators is challenging enough without an in-person registration requirement.

Outsiders have the option of bidding for one of Illinois’ $20 million mobile-only licenses that should come available by the end of the year, but again, that doesn’t appear to be a sensible choice on the surface.

The price tag is hefty, and because online registration would return for everyone once one of those licenses is handed out, this mystery operator would also be doing the competition a massive favor.

Fun times in Illinois these days, as you can see.

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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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