How Has Coronavirus Impacted Mobile Sports Betting In Illinois?

On June 4, 2020, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed Executive Order 2020-41, removing the in-person registration requirement for Illinois online sportsbook apps. Previously, Illinois law required residents to show up in-person at a mobile sportsbook’s affiliated casino partner to complete the registration process. Now, Illinois residents can legally complete the entire registration process from home.

In wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the reasons why are obvious. Social distancing remains an important government and public policy, particularly as rumblings of a second coronavirus wave circulate.

Has The Coronavirus Pandemic Sped Up Illinois’ Mobile Sports Betting Timeline?

The coronavirus pandemic may have improved the timeline for Illinois online sports betting. While mobile sports betting officially became legal in the Prairie State in 2019, it has been slow to roll out.

There are several reasons why the process has been slow. First, when a state legalizes online sports betting, it has to vet potential operators through a strict regulation and oversight process. Secondly, according to the initial Illinois law (before the Executive Order), bettors must complete registration in-person at the app’s partner casino. Traditionally, operators view in-person registration as a revenue obstacle and are less likely to consider launching in the state.

Status Of Mobile Sports Betting Apps In Illinois

In June 2020, shortly after the Executive Order, BetRivers Sportsbook app became the first sportsbook app to launch in Illinois. Currently, it is the only one available in Illinois.

The app is available for both iOS and Android. It can be downloaded from the BetRivers website through mobile browser. Alternatively, you can use the BetRivers sportsbook website on your desktop.

The BetRivers Sportsbook legally operates in partnership with the brick-and-mortar Rivers Casino Des Plaines. The app itself was developed by industry giant Rush Street Interactive, which is a partial stakeholder in Rivers Casino Des Plaines.

Apps That May Come Soon To Illinois

Still, the potential for fast registration without having to visit a physical casino could lead to a higher sign-up rate in Illinois. Two of the biggest sportsbook app providers, FanDuel and DraftKings, must go through a penalty period for illegally operating daily fantasy sports in the state. The penalty period requires that they freeze their activity in the state for a set amount of time.

Neither FanDuel nor DraftKings are not subject to the penalty until Illinois issues its first “official” sports betting license. However, potential mobile operators connected to Rivers Casino in Des Plaines and Argosy in Alton may launch within a month under their official operating permits.

The clock is ticking. Only time will tell whether coronavirus has a net positive or negative effect on mobile sports betting’s launch in Illinois.

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