Just in time for the restart of three major sports leagues in the U.S., two sports gambling giants are ready to put up lines in Illinois. The Ilinois Gaming Board has issued temporary operating permits to DraftKings and FanDuel, who are now the latest to be preparing for a launch in the state. Another, William Hill, should get its license before the end of the month, which would be about the same time of the NBA and MLB regular-season reboots.
MLB, which is already holding Spring Training games, will see its regular season start on July 23, and the NBA will follow on July 30. The NHL will follow on August 1, and the possibility of being able to offer odds on all three has to be relieving some of the pressure felt by the sportsbooks. Until now, they have only been able to put up lines on sports like soccer’s Bundesliga, Premier League and MLS, and the limited PGA golf action that has been found.
DraftKings and FanDuel almost didn’t have a shot at entering the legal Illinois sports gambling market. Thanks to a “bad actor” clause included in the legislation, operators that were called out by the state’s attorney general for operating in a grey area years ago were not going to be allowed in for 18 months. That all changed when a loophole was uncovered, which DraftKings took full advantage of when it signed a deal with Casino Queen. The sportsbook will operate under a license officially controlled by Crown IL Gaming LLC and FanDuel operates as Betfair Interactive U.S. LLC in a partnership with Boyd Gaming. Both companies join BetRivers, Penn National Gaming – which has a deal with Barstool Sports – and Pointsbet to launch legal sports gambling in the state.
Illinois had also added an in-person registration requirement in the sports gambling laws, but that has been rescinded per an executive order signed by the state’s governor, J.B. Pritzker. As a result, gambling fans can now register and wager online, which is going to prove to be extremely beneficial to the success of the Illinois sports gambling market. Online wagers have already been shown to produce more action than in-person wagers at sportsbooks, and now, more than ever, all states with legal sports gambling need to be able to generate as much income as possible to recover from the coronavirus.