llinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker last week suspended the in-person registration requirement for sports wagering during the state disaster proclamation, allowing bettors to create accounts to make wagers online and using mobile applications.
Pritzker, who legalized sports betting nearly a year ago when he signed a $12 billion capital bill into law, signed Executive Order 2020-41 Thursday. It recognizes that “Illinois residents may not be able to appear in-person at a casino” since there have been no definitive social-distancing guidelines established to re-open the casinos due to the COVID-19 pandemic and “will reopen only when safe to do so pursuant to the Restore Illinois plan.”
Illinois Gaming Board Administrator Marcus Fruchter said in a statement issued Friday that the move “allows Illinois sports fans to temporarily place wagers from the safety of their own home, protecting a revenue source that is critical as the state begins to recover from the damaging financial impact of COVID-19.”
Of the seven casinos and three racetracks that so far have applied for sports betting licenses, only Rivers and the downstate Argosy Casino Alton have been granted temporary operating permits by the Gaming Board, only allowing them to lay odds inside their now-shuttered properties. They still need to request Gaming Board approval to offer online sports wagering, requests that hadn’t been submitted as of Friday afternoon, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Illinois casinos remain closed as a result of the governor’s shutdown order. Pritzker on Friday said state public health officials are talking to casino owners and experts to try to figure out how the establishments could reopen.
The governor last year signed into law a massive gambling expansion that allowed casinos, horse tracks and several sports venues to obtain a sports gaming license, as well as authorizing additional casinos to open in Illinois.