Three More Illinois Casinos Get Sports Betting Licenses
Three more casinos have received temporary sports betting permits from the Illinois Gaming Board as the state prepares to introduce regulated wagering to sports enthusiasts.
The two Hollywood Casinos in Aurora and Joliet and Par-A-Dice Hotel and Casino in Peoria have each applied for and obtained temporary sports betting licenses from the Illinois gambling regulator this past Thursday.
In early February, the Gaming Board granted temporary permits to Argosy Casino Alton, Grand Victoria Casino Elgin, and Rivers Casino Des Plaines.
The Fairmount Park racetrack in Collinsville has also applied for a license to conduct sports betting activities, but is yet to get its temporary permit from the Illinois Gaming Board.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed last summer a massive gambling expansion bill that, among other things, included the legalization of sports betting in Illinois. Under the state’s expanded gambling law, all of its 10 casinos and three racetracks as well as seven of its biggest sports venues can apply for wagering licenses.
Gov. Pritzker’s press secretary, Jordan Abudayyeh, said last month that the state’s highest ranking official “is pleased that Illinois sportsbooks will open for business by March Madness, generating revenue to rebuild universities, hospital, and other facilities across the state.”
The enforcement of the hefty 816-page gambling expansion bill last year came as a big triumph for the rookie governor who bets big on gambling tax money as he seeks funds to finance his ambitious $45 billion Rebuild Illinois capital plan.
Are Sportsbooks on Track for March Madness Launch of Operations?
While Gov. Pritzker hopes that the state’s first retail sportsbooks will be up and running in time for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, which is set to kick off on March 17, it is still to be seen where the six casinos holding temporary licenses are at with preparations for the launch of operations.
So far, Argosy Casino in Alton is the only gambling venue to be advertising March Madness opening of its brick-and-mortar sportsbook. Executives at Rivers Casino Des Plaines have said that they hope they will be able to launch sports betting in time for the basketball tourney. It should be noted that the state’s sports betting law prohibits betting on games involving local college teams.
State casinos will first go live with retail wagering. They will also be able to set up digital sports betting operations, as well.
However, online-only sports betting operators like DraftKings and FanDuel will not be able to obtain licenses in Illinois for 18 months after the start of legal sports betting, under state law.
The state Gaming Board would issue just three online-only sports betting licenses and those would cost $20 million each.
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