Mobile-Only Sports Betting Licenses now available in Illinois

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The online sports betting landscape in the state of Illinois could soon be changing, and it could provide a huge jolt of energy to the industry.

The Illinois Gaming Board recently made an announcement that will have some of the biggest sports betting operators weighing their options.

Online sportsbooks that wish to offer online-only sports betting in the state of Illinois can now apply for a license with the IGB. Up until this point, companies that wished to offer sports betting in the Land of Lincoln had to offer both retail and mobile betting.

Illinois has always had some interesting laws when it comes to its sports betting industry, and the lack of an online-only license was one of them. Legislators initially tried to protect the existing casinos with this law, but companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel still found a way into the state.

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The cost to offer online-only sports betting in Illinois won’t be cheap as the cost of a license is $20 million. This license is only good for four years, and then the operator will have to pay a hefty price tag to renew that license as well.

The IGB will begin accepting online-only sports betting applications through December 3, 2021, and those applications must be reviewed within the first 48 hours after that date. There are three online-only licenses available, and those will be awarded within 90 days after the applications are received.

Online betting has accounted for more than 90 percent of the total sports betting wagers in the state of Illinois, and that trend will continue. Even when the retail sportsbooks reopened for business following the COVID-19 pandemic, bettors still chose to do a majority of the betting online.

These online-only operators will be at a slight disadvantage for not having a retail location as well, but it will only be a small amount of money that they are missing out on each month. Tennessee is a state that only offers online sports betting, and those sportsbooks have continued to put up big numbers.

No More In-Person Registration

The biggest news from this update from the IGB relates to the current rule that requires in-person registration when setting up a new sports betting account. When the first online-only sportsbook goes live in the state of Illinois, the in-person registration requirement will be gone for good.

Illinois and Nevada are currently the only two states in the US that have this requirement, and it has affected the amount of action that each market sees. These two states are still two of the biggest sports betting markets in the US, but they could be even larger.

Governor JB Pritzker did allow for remote registration in Illinois for nearly one full year, but he eventually let that Executive Order expire in April 2021. Illinois has seen a decrease in both handle and revenue since that time, but it could also be tied to a slow sports calendar.

Once the remote registration period returns, retail sportsbooks will see even less action than before.

If you want to stay up to date on all sports betting in Illinois, then make sure you check back regularly on our news blog.

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