Third Illinois Sports Betting Option Appears As Leagues Begin Restart

Posted on August 3, 2020

William Hill opened a retail sportsbook just outside Chicago on Monday, becoming the third Illinois sports betting operator to go live.

The new book is at the Caesars’ property Grand Victoria Casino Elgin, around 40 miles outside of Chicago.

It is the first Ilinois sportsbook launch since the coronavirus pandemic and third total. Only Rush Street and Penn National launched in the IL sports betting market earlier.

While that’s not super-convenient for Chicago sports bettors, it’s significantly closer than some William Hill rivals. The DraftKings Sportsbook at Casino Queen, for example, is around 300 miles from the Windy City.

Location, of course, is crucial since Governor J.B. Pritzker reinstated in-person signups for mobile IL sports betting.

Nice timing for a new sportsbook

Most professional sports will return to or continue action within the next few weeks, which presents more

“I’m looking forward to seeing the community come together to watch their favorite teams as we welcome back the return of our favorite professional sports,” said David Grolman, president of retail operations for William Hill. “This will be our first sportsbook in the state of Illinois and allows us to continue to expand our relationship with Caesars Entertainment properties across the country.” 

William Hill will manage all sports betting operations for Caesars and Eldorado properties following the recent merger of the casino giants.

Grand Victoria Casino SVP Bill Gustafson said: “Partnering with the country’s leading sports betting operator allows us to offer our customers an elevated experience that features industry-leading wagering and technology.  

The book will feature three full-service ticket windows and multiple TV screens. 

Where is the William Hill app?

Despite the launch, BetRivers will still have the Illinois mobile market to itself for the time being. The company pledged to launch a mobile product “soon,” pending regulatory approval. That timeframe is thought to be weeks rather than months.

Time could be of the essence, however. FanDuel, DraftKings and PointsBet have all received preliminary sports betting approval for Illinois. FanDuel is the only one of the three yet to announce a local licensing partner, but all are scrambling to get live as soon as possible.

And in fact, PointsBet might be best situated to pick up customers in the early days of Illinois sports betting.

That’s because its partner, Hawthorne Race Course is just 10 miles from downtown Chicago. Hawthorne also runs three other OTB parlors where bettors can sign up for the PointsBet app when it becomes available.

That’s one of the reasons PointsBet is eyeing a 10% market share in the Prairie State.

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Brad Allen

Brad has been covering the online gambling industry in Europe and the US for more than four years, most recently as the news editor at EGR Global.

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