In what has become a monthly tradition in the state of Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker has once again extended online registration for sports betting. Executive Order 2020-41 was set to expire on Saturday, but it has now been extended until March 6.
This move by Pritzker was expected as the biggest sports betting day of the year is set to take place with the Super Bowl. Retail sportsbooks continue to be shut down or operating under health and safety protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Illinois sports betting officially launched in March, but the retail portion of the industry has not seen much growth since that time. Illinois has been hit extremely hard by the virus, and the state has taken extreme measures to stop the spread.
In November, online sports betting accounted for more than 96 percent of the total handle, and it was a record-setting month for the market. Total sports betting handle in Illinois that month was over $450 million, making it the fourth-highest state in the US.
No Updates From Unibet
Illinois has not had a new online sportsbook launch since September, and that could eventually start to limit the growth of the industry. Unibet Sportsbook was expected to be the sixth online sports betting option, but an official launch date has not yet been set.
In 2020, Unibet announced that it was targeting Illinois with plans to be live before Super Bowl LV. The Illinois Gaming Board has not given the final approval to the sportsbook, and it’s unclear if that will be coming anytime soon.
Penn National Eyeing Illinois
Earlier this week, Penn National Gaming announced that it was targeting Illinois for its next launch. That means that the Barstool Sportsbook is coming to Illinois, and it will likely be here before the start of the NCAA Tournament.
The Barstool Sportsbook recently launched in Michigan, and it has gotten off to a huge start. Penn National Gaming has partnered with the Greektown Casino to offer both retail and online sports betting.
Illinois will be the third state that features a Barstool Sportsbook, but it won’t be the last. Penn National confirmed that they are planning to launch in a total of 10 states by the end of 2021, with a rollout coming virtually every single month.
More Competition From Midwest
Illinois has enjoyed massive success since launching sports betting in March, with online betting leading the way. The “Land of Lincoln” has emerged as the leader in the Midwest portion of the country, but the competition continues to heat up.
Michigan launched online sports betting near the end of January, and early reports suggest that it was an overwhelming success. Indiana and Iowa continue to set new records for handle and revenue, and that will keep the pressure on Illinois.
The size of Illinois will keep it at the top of the Midwest, but there could be a small dip in numbers as the other states start to attract bettors from the state.