With 7 Licenses Approved, When Will Illinois Mobile Sports Betting Launch?

  • Illinois has awarded seven permanent sports betting licenses.
  • All of Illinois sportsbooks are shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • It takes a separate approval to receive a mobile sports betting license.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) has recently awarded seven different sports betting licenses.

Sports betting in Illinois had a rather short-lived story. Almost as soon as sportsbooks opened, many sports leagues and casinos were forced to shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. This left Illinois without much of a sports betting market to stand on.

Two casinos received approval before the COVID-19 shutdowns to operate sportsbooks. They were the Rivers casino in Des Plaines and the Argosy Casino Alton. Now both of these casinos have a permanent sports betting license.

Five other casinos gained sports betting licenses from the IGB as well. The Grand Victoria in Elgin, the Hollywood Casinos in Aurora and Joliet, Par-A-Dice in East Peoria, and the Casino Queen in East St. Louis all can now operate sportsbooks. Now that they have licenses, when will Illinois sportsbooks actually launch?

A Launch Timeframe

At the moment, Illinois sports betting is not currently active. Although mobile sports betting has been approved in Illinois, there are a couple of things that are holding it back.

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Mobile sports betting originally required bettors to sign up at a retail sportsbook to start making their bets. This rule was removed by Governor J.B. Pritzker. This would have been fine under normal circumstances, but Illinois regulators require additional approval for sportsbooks to go mobile.

That means that although there are a good number of sportsbooks with licenses, they do not yet have the approval to operate a mobile sportsbook. There is no set timeframe for when these sportsbooks can operate online sportsbooks and there is no guarantee that they would even desire to do so.

However, there is some hope that sportsbooks will soon be operational in Illinois. Governor Pritzker is planning to reopen the state by the end of June. Doing so will likely allow casinos to operate at some capacity in Illinois, thus allowing sportsbooks to operate in the state. Even if retail sportsbooks do reopen, there is no telling when mobile sports betting will arrive in Illinois.