The state of Illinois is making a change to sports betting registration, and it could have a major impact on the success of the state. In-person registration returned at midnight on Saturday night after mobile registration had been in place nearly every day since June.
This change comes after Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker decided to let his current Executive Order expire without issuing an extension. Pritzker is now letting the rule return to what was initially in place, and Illinois joins Nevada as the only two states to require in-person registration.
Illinois launched sports betting last March, and the state has become one of the top-four sports betting markets in the US. The Illinois Gaming Board has not yet announced the February numbers, but total handle is expected to near $600 million.
This registration change will not only affect the sports betting numbers, but it could discourage sports betting operators from seeking a license. Most retail casinos and in-person sportsbooks are now back open after being closed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lawmakers Fail to Make Rule Changes
Some lawmakers attempted to change the sports betting registration laws in Illinois, but there wasn’t a ton of support to begin 2021. If a new bill would have been passed, Pritzker would not have needed to continue issuing an Executive Order.
There has also been a push by legislators to change the betting rules in relation to wagering on college sporting events featuring teams from the state. Currently, bettors in Illinois cannot place a wager on the Illinois Fighting Illini or other Illinois colleges.
Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman supports this ban, and this is another rule that was not able to be changed, but it will continue to be re-visited.
Barstool Letting Bettors Know
Barstool Sportsbook was the last online sports betting app to launch in Illinois, having done so on March 11. Penn National Gaming made Illinois a priority in an effort to take advantage of the remote registration period.
The Barstool app has gotten off to a great start in Illinois, but this is a tough blow for the sportsbook. Barstool was not willing to go down without a fight, and it launched an aggressive Twitter campaign to let bettors know about the rules change.
With all of the top Barstool personalities urging customers to sign up before the midnight deadline on Saturday, this app could post some impressive numbers in April.
Indiana, Michigan Could Benefit
Not only will this new rule severely hurt the Illinois sports betting market, but it will also benefit markets in the Midwest. Indiana was the early sports betting leader in the Midwest, but Illinois quickly took that title from the Hoosier state.
Illinois and Indiana share a border, and the Chicagoland area is where a big portion of betting is done in each state. Indiana should be able to steal some business back from Illinois as remote registration is available there.
Michigan just launched online sports betting in January, and that state set a new record with over $325 million during February. If Illinois sees a decline, Michigan could pass up the Land of Lincoln.