Illinois to Open Sportsbook License Applications in December

  • Expected start date for license applications is December 19, sportsbooks opening in 2020
  • Residents will have to register in person for a mobile sportsbook account
  • FanDuel and DraftKings must wait 18 months after sportsbooks open to apply for a license
Illinois road sign
Sports stadiums, casinos, and racetracks will be able to apply for a sportsbook license in Illinois in December. [Image:]

A long time coming

Illinois sports betting will be getting off the ground in December when sportsbook license applications are released. This means that sports stadiums, casinos, and racetracks can all apply to open a sportsbook.

The expected date for the start of this process is December 19, according to Marcus Fruchter of the Illinois Gaming Board.

all signs point toward sportsbooks opening in Illinois at some stage in 2020

There is still no concrete date in place as to when sportsbooks will open in Illinois. However, all signs point toward sportsbooks opening in Illinois at some stage in 2020.

Registering for mobile sportsbooks

For the moment, only in-person registration will be offered for mobile sportsbooks in the state. This has long been something that legislators have rallied against because it will limit the number of people registering for mobile sportsbooks. This is because they will have to physically go to a casino or other sportsbook facility to register for an account. 

This is set to be the rule in place until the first sole mobile sportsbook license is issued. However, this will not be happening for the first couple of years of legal sports betting. 

Rhode Island is an example of a state that has suffered from having in-person registration. In September, only about 15% of the sports betting handle in Rhode Island came from mobile sources. By comparison, about 85% of New Jersey’s September handle came through mobile sources.

Early success in Indiana

Nearby Indiana also has been taking a large slice of the potential Illinois market. Chicago is just under 25 miles away from retail sportsbooks in two Indiana casinos. Over 40% of the state’s handle in September came from these two casinos. 

Mobile sports betting has been live in Indiana since October after a staggered rollout.

A lot of people from Chicago and other parts of Illinois could remotely sign up for accounts in Indiana and just cross over state lines and place sports bets in this manner. 

The road to legal sports betting

Legalizing sports betting in Illinois came as part of a massive gambling expansion bill. This bill also sees the development of a number of smaller casinos around the state, as well as a potential resort casino in Chicago itself.

seven licenses for stadiums to bid on, but only three licenses for mobile operators

There are sports betting licenses on offer to casinos, racetracks, and lottery vendors. There are seven licenses for stadiums to bid on, but only three licenses for mobile operators. 

Sole mobile operators like FanDuel and DraftKings must wait for 18 months after sportsbooks open before getting one of these licenses. There will also be a $20m price tag for these mobile-only licenses. 

It will take three months after receiving applications for the licenses to be awarded.

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