New Operators Coming to Illinois in 2021
The state of Illinois is quickly growing into a leader in the US sports betting industry, and 2021 is set to become another huge year.
There are currently five Illinois online sportsbooks, but at least two are expected to launch in the early part of 2021.
The competition in Illinois is already very strong, with operators such as BetRivers and DraftKings leading the way. Unibet and BetMGM have both reportedly submitted licensure applications, and the Illinois Gaming Board is expected to make a final ruling soon.
Unibet is one of the largest international sportsbooks, and it has already built up a strong presence in the United States. Unibet has partnered with the Argosy Casino Alton to provide online sports betting services through that skin.
Alton is near the city of St. Louis, and Unibet will look to target sports bettors from the state of Missouri that way.
BetMGM is expected to take over the sports betting license with the Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria. FanDuel initially entered the market through a deal with the Par-A-Dice, but it is moving its sports betting operations to Fairmount Park.
BetMGM is the sports betting arm of MGM Resorts International, one of the biggest names in the US gambling industry. BetMGM has operations in several states, and it will push to become one of the leaders in the Land of Lincoln when it launches.
Another big name that could be looking to break into Illinois in 2021 is Barstool Sportsbook. The Hollywood Casino in Joliet is the most logical partnership for Barstool, which is owned and operated by Penn National Gaming.
Currently, online registration is still allowed in Illinois, but that could change as soon as the governor’s Executive Order expires.
Three Casinos Yet To Apply
Even though the sports betting industry in the state of Illinois has taken off, there are still three casinos that have yet to even apply for a license. These IL casinos each have their own reasons for not yet submitting an application to the Illinois Gaming Board, but that should happen at some point in 2021.
Both Harrah’s Casino locations in Joliet and Metropolis have yet to apply, as finding a sports betting partner appears to be a bit of a concern. These locations are not in great spots to offer retail sports betting, but the Harrah’s brand has a strong presence in the industry.
The Jumer’s Casino in Rock Island is also waiting to submit an application to the IGB, but it intends to do that shortly. Rock Island is a part of the Quad Cities, and that is a hotbed of sports betting.
Jumer’s will have some stiff competition not only in Illinois but also from the state of Iowa. The Hawkeye State recently lifted the in-person registration requirement, which should provide a huge boost to that market.
Twin River recently acquired Jumer’s, and that gives that location the best chance to launch retail sports betting in 2021. Adding more competition on the retail side of things will also help the state continue to set new records.
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