Illinois Sports Betting: BetMGM To Accept Bets in Time for March Madness

Illinois Sports Betting: BetMGM To Accept Bets in Time for March Madness

The Illinois mobile sports betting landscape is about to get busier and more crowded just in time for March Madness, with remote registration beginning at midnight Saturday and BetMGM becoming the state’s sixth mobile operator.

Illinois sports betting

BetMGM arrives in Illinois

Technically, remote registration has existed in Illinois prior. In the summer of 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. JB Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-41 waiving the under-person registration requirement in the bill he signed legalizing sports betting in 2019. Pritzker extended that executive order many times to aid in the development of mobile sports betting, a decision that paid off handsomely as Illinois established itself as one of the nation’s top five sports betting markets alongside New Jersey, New York, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.

Pritzker’s most recent executive order renewal occurred in March 2021, just prior to the debut of Barstool Sportsbook’s mobile operations. After it expired, bettors in Illinois who desired access to their preferred mobile app were had to visit the state’s retail sportsbook tether and register for an account. This has had the most impact on new sign-ups for FanDuel and DraftKings, as interested bettors would have to travel to Collinsville and East St. Louis, respectively, near the Missouri state line – a five-hour drive for residents of Chicago and the surrounding area.

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BetMGM makes its way to the Land of Lincoln

BetMGM’s entry into Illinois has taken a long time, but the IGB has officially verified that the request to begin accepting bets has been authorized. BetMGM applied for a Management Services Provider license in September 2020. Expected to be tied to East Peoria’s Par-A-Dice Casino, it was pushed down the pecking order by FanDuel’s tie to Boyd Gaming, as the online giant attempted to minimize DraftKings’ exclusive window in the state.

FanDuel transferred its license to the formerly titled Fairmount Park in late 2020, and rebranded it FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing in March 2021, when it opened a second retail book.

BetMGM has a strong mobile presence in the Midwestern states of Michigan, Indiana, and Iowa. BetMGM is a very competitive third in the Wolverine State, backed by a large retail presence in Detroit. Since Michigan’s concurrent multi-operator launch in January 2021, it has generated almost $940 million in handling and $94 million in gross revenue, albeit more than half of the latter figure was achieved through promotional play returned back to customers’ accounts.

With its debut, BetMGM enters one of the country’s largest sports betting markets. We look forward to collaborating with the state of Illinois to deliver a fresh, innovative, and unique sports betting experience to the state’s ardent sports fans. BetMGM has always been a distant third in Indiana, trailing DraftKings and FanDuel by more than $600 million in handling and $53 million in gross gaming revenue over the last 19 months. In Iowa, where there are currently 18 mobile providers, it has generated close to $150 million in handling and $11.2 million in revenue in the 13 months since debut. 

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, adults in Illinois gamble $9,341 each minute on sports, based on the $8.9 billion as of Dec. 31, 2021 — the most recent period for which figures are available. By itself, this point demonstrates Illinois’s attraction to casino enterprises. However, confirming BetMGM’s good timing is the fact that the NCAA Tournament — annually one of the biggest wagered-on sporting events in the United States — begins on March 13. With multiple Illinois teams set to compete in the tournament, and possibly as many as seven Big 10 teams, March Madness 2022 could be a substantial cash source for Illinois and the state’s sports wagering companies.


About Lou De Aguila

Lou Aguila is a news and feature writer for Golden Casino News. For over a decade, Lou has published news and featured articles for some of the most reputable sports betting and online casino sites in the world, including BetNow.UK, VegasOdds, and BWin. Apart from being a hardcore live casino punter, he also covers sports stories in North American leagues from time to time.