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Illinois Sports Bettors Can Now Sign Up Online After In-Person Requirement Removed

David Caraviello for Bookies.com

David Caraviello  | 3 mins

Illinois Sports Bettors Can Now Sign Up Online After In-Person Requirement Removed

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Fans of sports betting in Illinois can finally say goodbye to the antiquated, inconvenient process of in-person registration, which has been eliminated in the Land of Lincoln.

Mobile registration for online sports betting platforms operating in Illinois began Saturday, thanks to an amendment to the state’s sports betting law signed last December by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Previously, even those sports bettors wagering via mobile platforms had to register in-person at a retail sportsbook; but beginning Saturday, they can set up accounts online through any state-licensed sportsbook operator.

DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM Illinois and PointsBet are among the major online sportsbooks and betting apps operating in Illinois that are offering mobile registration as of Saturday, with the likes of Caesars Sportsbook expected to swiftly follow next week.

The change to the law is almost certain to increase sports betting handle - and by extension, the amount of tax dollars paid to the state - by eliminating an in-person registration requirement that in some cases required Illinois residents to drive hours to the nearest retail casino.


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Increases in handle, taxes expected

Pritzker has been an opponent of in-person registration, and actually suspended the practice several times during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in an attempt to encourage wagering activity throughout the state. His decision to amend Illinois’ sports betting law in December came after both houses of the state’s general assembly voted overwhelmingly to eliminate in-person registration.

Illinois is not alone in scrapping the outdated concept of in-person registration, originally conceived as an attempt to protect brick-and-mortar gaming facilities. Iowa allowed its in-person registration measure to expire on Jan. 1, 2021, and the Hawkeye State’s total sports betting handle jumped from $104 million in December of 2020 to $149 million the following month, according to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

And Illinois is a far bigger market, with far more potential. Illinois recorded $326 million in sports betting handle on college and pro events between December of 2021 and February of 2022, according to figures available from the Illinois Gaming Board, with $316 million of that wagered online.


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Just in time for March Madness

Sports betting was legalized in Illinois in 2019 as part of a $45 billion infrastructure plan designed to use taxes from wagering revenues to repair roads and bridges in the state. The first legal retail sports bets in Illinois were placed in March of 2020, with the first mobile wagers following in June.

The end of in-person registration promises to provide sports wagering in the Land of Lincoln with yet another boost - and just in time for college basketball betting on the NCAA basketball tournament, one of the most heavily-bet events in the United States each year. March Madness typically drives more than $8 billion in wagering each year.

Remote registration allows users to sign up for a licensed sports betting platform via a mobile app. Some online bookmakers have promotional offers ready for the weekend - DraftKings, for instance, is offering a 20% deposit match bonus for new users and FanDuel is offering a $1,000 risk-free bet for sign-ups in the state.

About the Author

David Caraviello for Bookies.com
David Caraviello
Veteran sports journalist David Caraviello has covered college football, college basketball, motorsports and golf, covering all three US golf majors, the Daytona 500 and SEC football.
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