More Licenses Awarded As Illinois Prepares for March Madness Betting


Illinois has been very aggressive in its pursuit of a legal and regulated sports betting market. Recently, three more casinos in the state have been awarded temporary licenses from the Illinois Gaming Board. This comes amid preparations for the upcoming March Madness, which will be the very first one that sports bettors in the state will be able to bet on.

Some of the sports betting operators that have been awarded temporary licenses included Rivers Casino Des Plaines, Argosy Casino Alton, Grand Victoria Casino Elgin, Par-A-Dice as well as the two Hollywood Casinos in Aurora and Joliet. More licenses are expected to be awarded in the near future since a number of applications have already been filed and are just awaiting approval.

High Hopes as March Madness Nears

The state’s governor has had very high hopes about the launch of retail sports betting. He is hoping that this will happen by the time the highly-anticipated event rolls around on March 17. Not much detail has been revealed with regards to where the individual temporary sports betting licensees holders are at with the preparations.

As it stands, only Argosy Casino has begun advertising the opening of March Madness at its land-based sports betting facility. The executives of some of the other license holders have, however, assured sports bettors that their services will be up and running by March 17.

At launch, the sportsbooks will only be offering retail sports betting but digital sports betting will follow shortly. Unfortunately, digital-only sports betting operators such as FanDuel and DraftKings are not going to be allowed to obtain the licenses, at least for now. They will be able to apply for any of the three online-online sports betting licenses stipulated by Illinois gambling law after 18 months from the launch of legalized sports betting in the state. These three licenses will cost the interested operators a whopping $20 million each.

Concerns Over In-Person Registration

Even though the sports betting market has been on the rise, there are some concerns that have been raised with regard to its operational model. The most notable aspect in this regard is the in-person registration requirements. According to gaming industry experts, this restriction will drive sports bettors to illegal and off-shore online sports betting outlets that do not have similar restrictions. All that the bettors need to do is sign up online and begin placing bets on their favorite sporting activities.

This will, of course, need to be addressed very soon even as the number of sports betting operators continues to grow.

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