Illinois sports bettors will be able to open new accounts with the state’s digital sportsbooks remotely until at least November 14 after Gov. J. B. Pritzker extended last week Executive Order 2020-41, which he originally signed in June and has extended several times since then.
The order was set to expire on Saturday. However, with coronavirus cases surging across the nation, particularly in Illinois, the order was extended and will now be valid until November 14 and is likely to be extended again.
Under Illinois’ gambling expansion law, which took effect last year, sports bettors can only register new online wagering accounts at a physical casino or sportsbook. With strict social distancing policies in place, Gov. Pritzker signed Executive Order 2020-41 in June to temporarily lift that requirement.
Remote signups were available through late July when Gov. Priztker decided not to extend the order. However, he reinstated it on August 21 and then extended in September and last week.
Retail and online sports betting was part of last year’s sweeping gambling expansion reform. Illinois’ first retail sportsbook opened doors in early March only to close a week later as the state ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Gov. Pritzker’s executive order from June paved the way for the long-anticipated launch of online sports betting in the state and saw some industry giants enter the local digital wagering space.
Illinois Maintains Strong Sports Betting Number
Illinois has not released its September sports betting figures yet, but the August ones were more encouraging. The state reported sports betting handle of $140 million that month. Mobile accounted for 88.5% of that.
August handle rose 166.7% from the previous month. The state’s sportsbooks handled a total of $52.5 million in bets in July, the first full month of sports betting in Illinois. Around 92% of the betting handle came from digital betting.
Illinois currently has five digital sportsbooks. The first one – BetRivers – went live in June, shortly after Gov. Pritzker signed Executive Order 2020-41. DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, and most recently William Hill, have also gone live in Illinois with online sportsbooks and mobile apps.
It should be noted that DraftKings and FanDuel were able to enter Illinois much earlier than originally expected after they partnered with local land-based casinos to exploit a loophole in a law specifically designed to prevent them from launching online-only sportsbooks until 18 months after the issuance of the state’s first sports betting license.
DraftKings teamed up with Casino Queen earlier this year to launch the DraftKings at Casino Queen Sportsbook app and a retail facility at the East St. Louis-based casino in August. FanDuel entered Illinois through a partnership with Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria.
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