Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker allows mobile sports betting registration until COVID-19 crisis ends

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker allows mobile sports betting registration until COVID-19 crisis ends

Casinos in many states across the country are opening up under strict health and safety guidelines. However, as Illinois casinos remain closed due to deadly COVID-19 crisis, Governor J.B. Pritzker issued an order late Thursday to allow sports betting enthusiasts to register for mobile accounts online.

The governor’s order allows sports betters to set up accounts on their mobile phones anytime, from anywhere including downtown Chicago. When the state approved sports betting in 2019, the law declared a period of eighteen months required for customers to register for mobile accounts at brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, which are commonly situated at casinos, racetracks and a few sports stadiums. That meant anyone who may want to make use of a specific application would have to travel long round-trip in case they wanted to place a wager on it.

Illinois passed the concerned law around the same time as similar laws were approved in Iowa and Indiana. But, while Iowa and Indiana launched sports betting in the summer months of 2019, repeated postponements kept Illinois authorities from launching the service until earlier this year. It was thought that the launch in March would work for the Land of Lincoln by coinciding with the nation’s most trendy sports betting event NCAA Tournament. Unluckily, the state’s first sportsbook opened on 9th of March, just a couple of days before the corona virus outbreak that forced authorities to cancel or postpone all sporting events. In response to the health crisis, the Illinois Gaming Board ordered all non-essential business like casinos to suspend their operations.

As the gaming facilities remain closed throughout the state since 18th of March, the state governor retaliated by allowing people to place wagers online, without the need to visit brick-and-mortar sportsbooks.

In his newly issued order, Gov. Pritzker said, “The provisions in the Sports Wagering Act… requiring in-person creation of a sports wagering account at a facility authorized pursuant to the Act in order to participate in sports wagering offered over the internet or through a mobile application, are suspended.”

The governor’s order has been praised by some gaming analysts who consider in-person registration for mobile sports betting as a big impediment to the market growth as it limits competition and creates a needless hindrance for gamers.

Requirements for registering for mobile sports betting differ from state to state. While New Jersey, West Virginia, Indiana and Pennsylvania don’t require in-person registration, many states like Iowa has an 18-month period provision similar to that of Illinois.