BetMGM Approved for Sports Betting License in Illinois

Handful of Money With a Sportsbook Background

Bettors in Illinois will have more sports betting options to choose from soon. Illinois already has 6 online sportsbooks to go with their 11 retail sports betting operations. Yesterday, the Illinois Gaming Control Board (IGB) approved BetMGM for a sports betting license. The sportsbook will join a growing gaming industry in the Midwest. There are several site-based casinos as well as online gambling providers in Illinois.

BetMGM brings plenty of experience to the table. The sports betting operator launched in New York earlier this month, Illinois will mark the 20th state to license BetMGM. To obtain operating rights in the Prairie State, BetMGM partnered with Par-A-Dice Hotel & Casino. The East Peoria casino opened in 1991 and is one of 10 casinos to operate in the state.

The partnership benefits both sides. BetMGM can use Par-A-Dice’s platform to avoid obtaining a mobile-only license. The partnership will allow BetMGM to instead operate under the casino’s management services provider license. Par-A-Dice on the other hand benefits from BetMGM’s brand and sports betting expertise.

Officials from BetMGM have indicated they intend to launch in early March of this year. The timing of the proposed launch lines up with the start date for new legislation in Illinois. Currently, bettors have to register in person before making their bets. The new legislation going into effect in March will change that.

Why is BetMGM partnering with Par-A-Dice Hotel & Casino?

If all things were equal, then BetMGM would likely not need to partner with another casino to expand into a new state. However, given Illinois’ gaming laws, BetMGM had to find a partner to avoid paying substantial licensing fees. A mobile-only license would have cost BetMGM $20 million. The heft price tag has led to other online operators, such as DraftKings, partnering with casinos and racetracks to enter the Illinois market.

The partnership with Par-A-Dice provides other benefits to BetMGM as well. Par-A-Dice benefits from being one of the only casinos located in Central Illinois. As a result, BetMGM will be able to draw on a strong customer base in the region. Illinoisans have shown a strong interest in sports betting since it was legalized in 2019.

Par-A-Dice also benefits greatly from the new partnership. Sports betting is a rapidly expanding industry in the US. The BetMGM brand is widely recognizable and will attract new customers. The casino already had a partnership with FanDuel, so pairing with BetMGM will only help their expansion into sports betting.

Having multiple sports betting operators as partners should allow Par-A-Dice to have a bigger share of the market. In October of last year, Illinois’ total betting handle was $840 million. Sports betting made up $800 million of the handle. Partnering with BetMGM should allow Par-A-Dice to increase its take of the sports betting market.

BetMGM Will Join a Thriving Illinois Market

It is easy to see why BetMGM would want to try and operate in Illinois. Despite the current laws, the 11 retail and 6 online sportsbooks have done quite well for themselves. The Land of Lincoln has the 4th largest betting handle since 2019. Since legalizing sports betting, Illinois’ betting handle has exceeded $8 billion. Gaming revenue has also been off the charts. Last year, Illinois’s total gaming revenue exceeded $1 billion.

Total revenue and sports betting handle should be even higher in 2022. The success of sports betting in Illinois may come as a surprise to some. Current gaming laws in the Prairie State are not as pro-gambling as in other states. New Legislation going into effect in March should make it easier for players to start placing wagers. Currently, players have to register in person before betting.

Illinois legislators voted to change the state’s gaming laws last month. A new law was signed that allows for remote registration starting on March 5th. Even with the change in registration options, there are still several areas that need improvement. The state has yet to issue any mobile sports betting licenses. The $20 million price tag has made the license too cost-prohibitive. Instead, BetMGM and other sportsbooks have opted to partner with existing casinos to use their licenses.

The need for in-person registration is obviously less convenient for bettors. Still, Illinois residents seem eager to take part in sports betting and the industry has flourished. Illinois was the only state in the top-5 betting handles that BetMGM did not have operations in. Starting in March, BetMGM will be joining a booming sport betting market.

Conclusion

One of the biggest names in sports betting is coming to Illinois. The Illinois Gaming Control Board (IGB) announced yesterday that it approved BetMGM for a sports betting license. BetMGM partnered with the Par-A-Dice Hotel & Casino to obtain the license. The new sportsbook is expected to launch in March of this year.

BetMGM will join an Illinois sports betting market that has been thriving since its launch in 2019. Illinois betting handle is the 4th largest of any state since that time. The success is largely due to the addition of sports betting. For example, the sports betting handle in October made up $800 million of the $840 million handle for the month. October’s handle was the highest in a single month in Illinois.

The partnership between BetMGM and Par-A-Dice Hotel & Casino offers clear benefits for both sides. BetMGM avoids having to pay for a mobile sports betting license. In Illinois, that would have cost the sportsbook $20 million. BetMGM also has the benefit of using Para-A-Dice’s decades of experience in the Illinois market. The casino also benefits from BetMGM’s experience in online and mobile sports betting.

March will be a big month for Illinois sports betting. Not only will BetMGM be launching, but other sportsbooks are also expected to be beginning operations around that time. In addition to the new sports betting operators, there will be new laws governing sports betting. Starting March 5th, players will no longer be required to register in-person to place their wagers. The implementation of remote registration should allow the Illinois sports betting market to continue to expand.