Seven Illinois Retail Sportsbooks to Retain Licenses

The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) ensured the continued growth of the state's sports betting industry on June 6 by renewing the licenses of seven retail sportsbooks in the state. This marks the first round of renewals since Illinois launched sports betting in March 2020.

The sign for DraftKings' sportsbook at Casino Queen in East St. Louis, Illinois. (Source: DraftKings)

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The move signifies the IGB's confidence in the industry's growth and stability. Marcus Fruchter, Administrator of the IGB, leveraged his expanded authority granted during COVID-19 to expedite the process.

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These powers, which have been consistently renewed annually, allowed Fruchter to grant four-year extensions to the following land-based casinos, which are now valid until June 2028:

  • - Argosy Casino Alton
  • - DraftKings at Casino Queen in East St. Louis
  • - Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin
  • - Hollywood Casino Aurora Joliet
  • - Hollywood Casino Joliet
  • - Rivers Casino in Des Plaines
  • - Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino in East Peoria

This news comes amidst a backdrop of impressive revenue generation for the state's fledgling sports betting industry. Since its inception, retail sports betting has brought in a staggering $1.12 billion in total handle, a figure that reflects the amount of money wagered by bettors. The first three months of 2024 alone witnessed a handle of $105 million, indicating continued strong consumer interest.

However, the handle only tells part of the story. A key metric for the industry's health is the "hold percentage," which represents the profit casinos retain after paying out winning bets. In Illinois, operators have achieved a collective hold of 8.9% across the 46 months of operation. This translates to a total of $99.5 million in adjusted gross sports betting revenue for the state.

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Illinois Sports Betting Matures

The IGB's decision to renew licenses reflects not only the financial success of sports betting but also its responsible implementation. The regulatory body has prioritized ensuring the integrity of the games and protecting consumers from potential harm. This includes robust background checks on operators, responsible gaming initiatives to combat gambling addiction, and data security measures to safeguard sensitive financial information.

Looking ahead, the future of sports betting in Illinois appears bright. The recent license renewals provide operators with long-term stability, allowing them to invest in infrastructure, marketing, and technology to enhance the customer experience. Additionally, the consistent revenue generation suggests that sports betting is here to stay in Illinois, potentially contributing even more to the state's coffers in the years to come.

However, one looming challenge remains – the legality of betting on Illinois-based college teams. Currently, such wagers are prohibited. Whether this restriction will be lifted through legislative amendments is a topic of ongoing debate. Nevertheless, the recent license renewals and the industry's overall success thus far are positive indicators for the continued growth and prosperity of sports betting in the state.


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