It became harder for prospective sports bettors in Illinois to create an account over the weekend after an in-person registration exemption was not renewed by the Governor.
When sports betting was legalized in the state legislators included an 18-month period during which anyone signing up for an online sportsbook account had to do it in-person at one of the state’s casinos.
After the pandemic shuttered all casinos in the state in the summer of 2020 and made in-person registration impossible, Governor JB Pritzker suspended the requirement. The suspension was lifted temporarily later in the summer before being reinstated again in August. Following the August reinstatement of the suspension it was renewed by the Governor every month until last weekend.
According to reports the Governor decided to stop the exemption renewal because he believes the pandemic is finally winding down in the state. However, that goes against the COVID-19 infection numbers released by the state which has recently begun an upward trend again. Last week the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases rose from 1,964 to 2,630.
Unless the Governor decides to reinstate the suspension of the in-person requirement, sportsbooks is Illinois will not be able to take remote signups against until January, 2022. The removal of the registration exemption wasn’t good news for online sports betting operators in Illinois, such as BetRivers, DraftKings and FanDuel. The in-person requirement is also expected to be an impediment for new sportsbook operators in the state like Barstool Sportsbook and prospective sportsbook like BetMGM.
It could also be bad news for Illinois sports betting numbers which have been consistently rising throughout the pandemic. In January, 2021 Illinois became the fourth state with legal sports betting to surpass $500 million betting handle for one month. The betting handle for January was $581 million, a new state record. Illinois was on pace to report a $7 billion betting handle in 2021, but that could change now that the in-person registration requirement has returned.