Illinois Suspends In-Person Online Sportsbook Sign-Ups
Executive order issued
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order suspending the requirement for the state’s residents to register for online sports betting services in person.
Section I of the order, published on Thursday, states: “During the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamations, the provisions in the Sports Wagering Act, 230 ILCS, 45/25-30 (f), 25-35 (f), and 25-40 (i), requiring in-person creation of a sports wagering account at a facility authorized pursuant to the Act in order to participate in sports wagering offered over the internet or through a mobile application, are suspended.”
The governor’s executive order is expected to enable people from the Land of Lincoln to sign up for sportsbook accounts remotely.
When Illinois legalized sports betting last year by passing a $12 billion capital bill into law, the statute set an 18-month window requiring customers to set up mobile accounts at brick-and-mortar casinos or sportsbooks.
According to reports, sports bettors will now be able to set up wagering accounts online or via an operator’s mobile application. While there are no legal digital sportsbooks currently live in Illinois, one or more could get the nod to launch later this month.
Gov. Pritzker’s new order recognizes that “Illinois residents may not be able to appear in-person at a casino”, with no guidelines yet established to reopen the state’s gambling facilities in the wake of coronavirus. It also states that these “will reopen only when safe to do so pursuant to the Restore Illinois plan.”
Different states, different laws
While Illinois’ state law was passed around the same time as similar laws in Indiana and Iowa, those states were able to launch sports betting in the summer of 2019. Unfortunately for Illinois, its first sportsbook opened on March 9, just two days before the COVID-19 crisis postponed or canceled all sporting events. All casinos in Illinois have been shuttered since March 16.
Registration requirements for mobile sports betting vary by state. Indiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia don’t require in-person registration. Iowa’s 18-month period ends by 2021.
While Nevada does require in-person registration, some of its sportsbooks set up drive-through services for bettors to create accounts during the COVID-19 peak.
All eyes on June 11 meeting
Only two state casinos, Rivers Casino – which launched its BetRivers sportsbook – and the Argosy, were provisionally approved by the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) to go live online and accept wagers at their retail locations. Both were open for less than a week in March before coronavirus closures ensued.
Five other casinos, including Casino Queen, Grand Victoria Casino, Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino, and both Hollywood Casinos, all have temporary operating permits. They do not, however, have approval to accept wagers ahead of the next scheduled IGB meeting on June 11.
The upcoming IGB meet also includes a proposed rule clarification regarding branding for mobile sports wagering. BetRivers sportsbook appears to be in pole position to get to market for mobile, with parent company Rush Street Interactive approved as a Management Services Provider and GeoComply as a supplier.
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