William Hill Latest To Enter Illinois Mobile Sports Betting Market

The field of mobile sports betting operators in Illinois continues to expand as William Hill became the fifth entry with its launch Tuesday evening.

William Hill has been operating a sportsbook at Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin since Aug. 1 as the British-based sportsbook was the third to the retail market in the Prairie State. William Hill is the second sportsbook to commence mobile operations in Illinois in the past four days as PointsBet launched Saturday morning via Hawthorne Race Course.

“We’re excited to bring our top-performing mobile app to my hometown state of Illinois,” said Ken Fuchs, President of Digital for William Hill. “We look forward to providing millions of sports fans in the state with the best markets and great service.”

Illinois is the sixth state William Hill is offering mobile sports betting along with Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, and West Virginia. William Hill also operates the Rhode Island Lottery mobile app’s trading services.

BetRivers was the first to launch online/mobile sports wagering on June 18, followed by DraftKings on Aug. 5 and FanDuel on Aug. 28 prior to PointsBet commencing operations Saturday.

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William Hill’s first promotion to entice bettors in Illinois is a notable one, offering new users who open an account and make a digital deposit a 100% match up to $300. There is some time-sensitive urgency to that offer as remote registration in the state is only definitely available until Saturday, though Gov. JB Pritzker could decide to renew Executive Order 2020-41, which he restored Aug. 19 after a successful email campaign originated by DraftKings lobbying the governor to do so.

The British-based sportsbook’s entry into Illinois’ mobile sports betting market comes hours after the Illinois Gaming Board released its first set of sports betting revenue reports. Those reports covered the months of March, June, and July, and it was the July report that offered a glimpse of the potential Illinois has as a sports betting market.

BetRivers, operating as the lone mobile sportsbook in the sixth-most populous state — and also home to Chicago, the third-largest city in the United States — generated an online handle of $47.7 million in July.

The Illinois governor originally issued Executive Order 2020-41 on June 4 and renewed it later that month before letting it lapsed in late July. The email push originated by DraftKings to lobby users to restore the executive order also helped the sportsbook deal with some of the advanced COVID-19 related mitigation measures the state has taken in the southwestern part of the state, where positive testing rates have tracked higher than 8% for more than a month.

FanDuel has since picked up the lobbying baton via email campaign to at least keep the Executive Order in place with an eye on permanently removing the in-person registration provision.

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