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Remote Betting Registration Reinstated in Illinois

Players in Illinois will once again be able to sign up for sports betting accounts remotely after State Governor J.B. Pritzker permitted this change until September 19th. 

This is the second time that remote betting registration has been enabled, with the previous period this was allowed ending on July 26th. 

Allowing remote sign-ups, which normally wouldn’t have been possible until 18 months after the state’s market went live, is intended to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Pritzker opted to reintroduce the order following a spike in cases across various counties in the state. 

U-turn 

Not long ago, the Illinois Gaming Board announced tighter restrictions on land-based casino operations. Venues were only allowed to open with a limited time window, while their capacities were reduced to 25%. Prior to these measures, they were already operating at just 50% of what they normally would. 

The original remote sign-up order came into effect on June 4th, and was originally intended to stay in effect for as long as the state’s Gubernatorial Disaster Proclaims were. However, it was decided last month that players would have to travel to land-based venues again to register. 

Players in the Land of Lincoln will now be able to register remotely with their operator-of-choice prior to the NFL season, which is due to begin on September 10th. Should the virus continue to cause problems in the state beyond next month’s remote betting registration expiry, there’s a chance that it could be extended further. 

Operators with remote physical locations will benefit from the reintroduced remote sign-up law 

Pritzker’s decision to hand players back the ability to register remotely will benefit online operators partnered with casinos in more remote locations, such as DraftKings. The sports betting and daily fantasy giant had, prior to partnering with Casino Queen, sought to take advantage of the narrow window to enter the market as an online-only operator. 

DraftKings was allowed to launch an online sportsbook after its partnership, in which it also renamed the casino in East St. Louis ‘DraftKings at Casino Queen’. However, players had to travel to the venue – located over 300 miles away and a four-and-a-half hour drive from Chicago – in order to complete their sign-up. Now, however, DraftKings can take players from anywhere in the state. 

FanDuel has also mentioned in the past that it has plans to launch its online sports betting offerings within Illinois. However, it’s not yet clear if the re-implemented remote registration rule will prompt the operator to try and launch here faster than would otherwise have been the case. 

COVID-19 in Illinois 

Illinois has recorded 222,000 cases of COVID-19 at the time of writing on August 24th, with 8,114 deaths stemming from the virus. 

Yesterday, 1,893 new coronavirus cases were reported by health officials in the Prairie State. 

On Friday, it was announced by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) that 20 counties in the state are at ‘warning’ level. Warnings are determined by a variety of factors, including cases per 100,000 people, weekly hospital admissions and the number of positive tests per week. 

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