It sounds like an extension could be in the works to continue remote Illinois sports betting registration beyond Saturday.
At least one sportsbook operator told LSR on background it expects Gov. J.B. Pritzker to issue an extension to Executive Order 2020-41.
If he does not, anyone without a mobile sportsbook account would have to travel to specific casinos for their sportsbook of choice to complete the sign-up process.
Who offers mobile IL sports betting?
There are five options for online sports betting in Illinois:
Without remote registration, though, potential sports bettors can’t just pick whichever sportsbook they want. If that bettor is in Chicago, it’s unlikely they will travel the 150 miles to Par-A-Dice to sign up with FanDuel. That distance doubles to 300 miles if they want a DraftKings account, which must be created at DraftKings Sportsbook at Casino Queen in East St. Louis.
The governor’s press office did not respond to multiple requests about a potential extension. The Illinois Gaming Board directed all questions to Pritzker’s office.
Illinois sports betting registrations so far
There have been around 230,000 Illinois sports betting accounts created through remote registration, IGB Administrator Marcus Fruchter said at its Thursday meeting. There’s little doubt that registrations from the first remote wave helped the market hit $52.5 million handle in July.
Remote registration technically will not be allowed until next September at the earliest. The law included at least 18 months of in-person registration only.
That changed because of the shutdowns from the coronavirus pandemic. Casinos shut down and no mobile sportsbooks were primed to launch, anyway.
Pritzker’s executive order on June 4 put the wheels in motion. Citing health concerns, he allowed remote registration to begin – but it didn’t last long.
The order was not renewed in late July to the surprise of most in the industry, including sportsbook operators. By that time, only BetRivers had launched its online platform.
Remote registration returned in August
After negative press wondering why Pritzker would send people out during a pandemic for something that can be handled from home, the governor changed his stance.
His office also cited fairness in the industry for remote registration’s return in a statement:
Increased mitigation measures are impacting the capacity limits and hours of operation at casinos in regions seeing higher rates of the virus and online sports betting will allow for an even playing field across the industry.
Remote registration returned August 21, just in time for sportsbooks to begin the scramble for new player signups before betting on NFL games began Sept. 10.
By then, DraftKings Sportsbook had joined the market as the second online sportsbook operator and started taking mobile signups within hours.