In June last year, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed a far-reaching order which allowed anyone over the age of 21 to register for an online sportsbooks account. The original bill required players to register for online gambling in-person at one of the brick-and-mortar casinos in the state.
But then COVID-19 hit and casinos had to shut their doors under lockdown restrictions. To save the fledgling online sports betting industry, the Governor allowed players to register online after signing an executive order. This order expired in July but was quickly reinstated in August as COVID-19 cases continued to rise and it was clear that brick-and-mortar casinos weren’t opening up soon.
However, that party didn’t last too long and last week, the Governor’s office issued a news release saying that as from April 4th, the in-person waiver was “no longer needed” and Illinois was returning to the terms of the original bill.
“Illinois is currently in phase four with vaccination rates rapidly increasing and casinos around the state have reopened with safety guidelines in place, so the suspension of an in-person sports betting registration requirement is no longer needed,” read an email by the Governor’s office.
Opposition to Governor’s Decision
Many feel that the Governor’s decision has been a hasty one, especially since the infection rate continues to rise, the immunization process is crawling and casinos are still operating at half capacity. Players are still reluctant to head to a physical casino to register an online betting account, which means that may very likely miss out on major sports events.
Some 95% of the money wagered in Illinois is done online. The state has made $28 million in tax revenue since June 2020 when the law kicked in.
By reinstating the in-person registration requirement, the state’s revenues may fall. Some analysts believe that Illinois may lose out on millions of dollars as a result.
DraftKings and FanDuel have already registered their opposition.
DraftKings said in a statement:
“DraftKings believes that creating artificial barriers for customers such as requiring in-person registration for mobile sports wagering deter bettors from moving to the legal market and ultimately hinders revenue generation for the state. Mobile registration has been an important factor in the success of Illinois sports wagering and we hope the legislature will take action to allow for customers to register their mobile sports wagering accounts remotely in the future.”