Illinois’ in-person registration requirement for online sports betting returns

Illinois bettors must now once again register their online sports betting accounts in person at one of the state’s land-based casinos after the Executive Order suspending the requirement expired on 3 April.

New customers for online sportsbooks must now register their accounts in-person before they can place a bet online.

Remote registration in Illinois ends

When Illinois’ sports betting market went live in March 2020, it did so with a requirement for customers to register their sports betting accounts in-person at one of the state’s land-based sportsbooks, written into law.

However, due to disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the temporary closure of the state’s land-based casinos, the state’s Governor J.B. Pritzker signed off on an Executive Order, suspending the in-person registration requirement.

Throughout the pandemic, Pritzker renewed the Executive Order on several occasions, however the latest extension has now expired.

The suspension of the in-person registration requirement proved to be an incredibly successful move for the state’s betting market and ultimately helped the state record record revenue and handle figures at the start of 2021.

In January 2021, bettors in the state of Illinois wagered $581.6m on sporting events in the state and in turn the sportsbooks generated $47.9m in revenue.

Why did Pritzker end the Executive Order?

As the Executive Order was introduced as a safety measure during the pandemic, and Illinois is currently ramping up its vaccination programme, most casinos in the state are now open with safety guidelines in place.

This is the main reason behind the decision not to extend the Executive Order.

However, last week, in an online question-and-answer session Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady warned that coronavirus cases in the state were “continuing to rise without any sign of decrease.”

On top of this, NBC Chicago has reported that the number of new coronavirus cases being recorded each day in Chicago has grown by 45% week-on-week.

If cases continue to surge and casinos are forced to close their doors for an extended period of time then it is possible the Executive Order could be reinstated.

In-person requirement could stall market growth

Despite the closure of the state’s land-based casinos during the pandemic, Illinois’ sports betting market had been on track to take one of the top three spots in the entire US betting space.

However, the suspension of remote registration could now stall market growth.

New online sportsbook operators who have entered the market in recent months like BetMGM and Barstool Sportsbook, will have to work even harder to acquire new customers and incentivise in-person sign ups.

If Illinois’ Governor does not reinstate the Executive Order, Illinois operators will have to wait several months before being able to take remote registrations again.

Under the state’s sports betting laws, the in-person registration requirement was set to run for the first 18 months of the market being live.