Illinois’ Governor Renews Orders to Restrict Remote Sports Betting Registration Until New Year

Joshua Clarke

Illinois’ governor, JB Pritzker, has given another Executive Order 2020-41 to maintain the state’s status quo of in-person sports betting registration. This order came on Friday evening, making it the sixth since the governor gave his first directive in June 2020. Under the order, new players will have to register for online sports betting over mobile or computer devices up to January 9, 2021.

Considering all retail sportsbooks situated in seven of the ten states’ casinos and Hawthorne Race Course are closed since November 20, 2020, new players cannot walk into the shops for in-person registration. Before the closure of these casinos, they operated at 25 or 50 percent capacity depending on what the Illinois Health Department approved following the July 1 reopening after the Illinois Gaming Board permitted the return.

The Illinois Gaming Board Did Not Accompany the Governor’s Order With October’s Revenue

As the governor was announcing an extension for the 2020-41 Executive Order in November, the Illinois gaming board also released sports betting income data. In the report, the sports regulatory body said that the licensed sportsbooks within the state collected a revenue of more than $305 million in September. Thus, the 2020-41 order renewal seemed necessary as it would support 90 percent of the amount generated in revenue, thanks to mobile and online wagers.

Illinois residents are anticipating the October reports for several reasons. For starters, the data will show how Illinois mobile sports betting is fairing, especially with all the five sportsbook operators, including William Hill, PointsBet, DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetRivers, being on the market for a whole month, for the first time.

Illinois is also the only state with legalized sports betting yet to release the October revenue data. However, Marcus Fruchter, the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) Administrator, explained that the delay was due to statutory rules during the board meeting in November. The October revenue report will confirm Illinois as the first jurisdiction to surpass $3 billion from legalized sports betting after the U.S. Supreme Court overthrew the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018.

Illinois Moves Closer to New Legislative Session

The renewal of the 2020-41 executive order comes at the right time, considering legislative sessions have been canceled this month. This means the outgoing General Assembly did not have a chance to remove the in-person registration requirement permanently. However, rumors have it that the legislature will reconvene in early January to discuss and potentially remove the in-person registration requirement.

Although it is not clear what the general assembly might discuss, there is a pending sports betting bill, SB 3889, sponsored by Illinois’ Senate President Don Harmon. This bill might open up the discussion about in-person sports wagering registration. However, considering it’s a new bill, it would take two-five days for both the House and Senate to pass the bill.

The new 102nd general assembly will be sworn on January 13, 2021, and reset the whole process. This means if the existing GA is unable to pass or discuss in-person requirements before the new set comes in, the bill could go into dust indefinitely.