First submissions since process began
According to the Illinois Gaming Board, only three casinos have submitted applications for sports betting licenses in the state to date.
All three of these applications were submitted last week, the first to be received by the gambling board since the licensing application process began in December. The board also confirmed that two of these facilities are casinos located in the suburbs of Chicago.
first to be received by the gambling board since the licensing application process began in December
The applicants are the Argosy Casino in Alton, the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, and the Elgin Riverboat Resort. As soon as licenses are approved by the board, such facilities would be allowed to offer sports betting services.
The Argosy Casino was the first casino to open in Illinois three decades ago. It is now aiming to launch the first sportsbook in the state this year. The Argosy Casino submitted its application on January 23. The two other casinos submitted their applications one day later on January 24.
The Elgin Riverboat Casino was the first riverboat casinos to open in the state, doing so in 1991 on the Mississippi River. It is currently owned by Penn National Gaming. It generates the least revenue for a casino in the state, with numbers declining rapidly in the past few years. It will be hoping that a sports betting license could turn things around.
Rivers Casino operates under the ownership of Churchill Downs. It has already built its sports bar and lounge in anticipation of opening a sportsbook. It is currently the highest-grossing gambling business in Illinois, with revenue of $440m reported in 2018. It is the only casino operating in the state that has reported growth in recent years.
More applications expected soon
While only three operators have applied to date, the gambling board is expecting a lot more applications to arrive on its desk in the coming weeks.
Finally, as part of the legislation that legalized sports betting, the six new casino licenses will also be able to apply for a sports betting license.
The likes of FanDuel and DraftKings, however, must wait for 18 months after the first sportsbooks open before obtaining a license. This will also come with a hefty $20m license fee.
Uncertainty remains over regulations
While sports betting legislation was signed seven months ago, rules for the sector are still somewhat up in the air. One of the main points up for debate is whether or not Illinois residents will be able to place bets on home-state teams, such as the Chicago Blackhawks and the Chicago Bulls.
The Illinois Gaming Board has yet to issue licenses for betting technology suppliers or enact deals for exclusive sports league data. The goal remains for the first sportsbooks to be open in time for March Madness, which is scheduled to begin on March 17, 2020.