Gov. JB Pritzker potentially set the IL sports betting market back quite a while this weekend when he again ended remote registration for sports betting accounts.
So why did Pritzker not renew his executive order allowing remote registration in the state? Because COVID-19 is no longer a concern as it relates to casinos.
Pritzker’s press secretary Jordan Abudayyeh told LSR:
“Illinois is currently in phase four with vaccination rates rapidly increasing and casinos around the state have reopened with safety guidelines in place, so the suspension of in person sports betting registration requirements is no longer needed.”
Pandemic not exactly over
Not everyone in the Land of Lincoln is as positive about the pandemic winding down.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady warned last week that covid infections in the state were “continuing to rise without any sign of decrease.”
The number of new COVID-19 cases diagnosed each day in Chicago was up 45% this week from the previous week, according to NBC Chicago.
Beyond covid considerations for Pritzker?
One IL gaming source told LSR the governor likely faced pressure from local casino operators to end his executive order.
The topic has caused trouble in Illinois before.
When remote sign up was first allowed because of the pandemic, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins celebrated on Twitter, calling BetRivers–parent Rush Street “corrupt idiots” for trying to block DK out the market.
Rush Street fired back in kind:
Rush Street has never been asked to leave a state, pays taxes on every wager, and has not been named in multiple consumer class action suits.
Not good news for IL sports betting growth
Whatever the reason for the return to in-person signups, it’s not good for the growth of the market.
Illinois had been on a rapid growth trajectory to one of the three largest sports betting markets in the US.
Now it faces a significant roadblock. The restrictions will most hurt newer operators like Barstool Sportsbook and prospective books like BetMGM.
If Pritzker does not restore the order, Illinois sportsbooks must wait months to take remote signups again.