Illinois Online Sportsbooks Don’t Need To Register Bettors In Person In Reversal By Gov. Pritzker

Posted on August 21, 2020

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Illinois sportsbooks can now resume taking remote registrations for online betting thanks to a new executive order from Gov. JB Pritzker, the latest twist in what has been a confusing launch for sports gambling in the land of Lincoln.

Pritzker reinstates sports betting order

Legal Sports Report confirmed that Pritzker reinstated his order allowing for remote registration on Friday. Executive order 2020-52 reinstated the original order, which appears here.

Here is what that order said:

WHEREAS, due to social distancing requirements put in place to protect public health, and because existing licensed casino gambling facilities authorized pursuant to the Sports Wagering Act have been closed to the public since March 16, 2020 and will reopen only when safe to do so pursuant to the Restore Illinois plan, Illinois residents may not be able to appear in-person at a licensed casino;

Section 1. During the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamations, the provisions in the Sports Wagering Act, 230 ILCS 45/25-30(f), 25-35(f), and 25-40(i), requiring in-person creation of a sports wagering account at a facility authorized pursuant to the Act in order to participate in sports wagering offered over the internet or through a mobile application, are suspended.

For the past several weeks, anyone wanting to sign up for an online sportsbook in Illinois needed to visit a physical sportsbook in order to complete registration. On June 8, Pritzker suspended that part of the Illinois law, however, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, suddenly, he reversed course on July 26, ending remote registration.

It’s not clear how long this order will stay in place, either, but it is good until Sept. 19. Requiring people to visit a casino to register for an online app does appear to be a needless health risk in the midst of the pandemic.

Who benefits from the new Illinois sports betting reality?

During the period when remote registration was allowed, DraftKings launched its Illinois sportsbook with the idea it could capitalize on the ability to take sign-ups entirely online.

DraftKings, after thinking it was back to in-person signups at its East St. Louis locations, can now easily market to everyone in the state, including the Chicago area.

Others in the market:

  • Rivers Casino outside of Chicago was one of the forces behind the in-person requirement in Illinois law, but will still try to take advantage of remote registration.
  • PointsBet was hoping physical sportsbooks near Chicago would help its early push, but that advantage could have gone up in smoke if the order stays in place for any amount of time.
  • FanDuel has plans to launch its online sportsbook in Illinois, but the timeline for that wasn’t clear. This may quicken the company’s pace.
  • Hollywood Casino sportsbooks have launched, but an online version branded for Barstool Sports isn’t expected until Q1 of 2021.
Photo by Photo via Getty Images
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Dustin Gouker

Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.

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