PlayUSA Rewind: DraftKings Readies For Illinois Sports Betting Despite Hurdle

Written By Grant Lucas on July 29, 2020Last Updated on February 19, 2021

The resumption of legalized sports betting has officially begun.

The first major American league resumed play as Major League Baseball threw out the first pitch. By week’s end, the NBA will also resume play.

Some states have amended laws to allow for more freedom in their respective industries, while at least one has gone back to its original restrictions.

On to the Rewind:

DraftKings has route to launch in Illinois

Less than two months ago, Gov. J.B. Pritzker temporarily suspende
d the requirement for new legal sports betting users to complete online account registrations in person at casinos in Illinois.

Now, that remote registration is gone.

In a new Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation, Pritzker reissued a number of executive orders, but he elected not to continue his support for remote sign-ups.

Therefore, the in-person requirement goes back into place, where it will remain until the state opens up its competitive bidding process for untethered licenses, which is not expected to begin for some 18 months.

The announcement came mere days before DraftKings Sportsbook anticipated rolling out its online sportsbook in the Land of Lincoln. Yet this hurdle does not appear to be slowing down the rising online sports betting power.

As a partner of Casino Queen, and as part of the workaround to operate in Illinois, DraftKings must use the branding of its land-based partner. How to get around that? How about a rebranding?

Indeed, that’s what happened, as Casino Queen became DraftKings at Casino Queen, thus allowing the operator to use its own brand.

While no timeline has officially been set for launch, DraftKings has shown its persistence and eagerness to add an Illinois sports betting site to its portfolio.

Draft rules set for Michigan internet gaming

Several months separate us from the expected launch of legalized online gaming in Michigan, but make no mistake: Regulators are making ample progress toward making internet gaming a reality.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) recently published draft rules for the industry, which would include online casinos, poker and sports betting. They have also been sent along to the Administrative Rules Division with hopes of holding a public hearing in September.

Ultimately, barring potential delays, online gaming could go live by early 2021, thus bringing Michigan in line with New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia as states with online casinos.

Obviously, retail wagering in Michigan has been operational since March. Online, 15 casino operators in the state are authorized to launch one skin in each of the three gaming verticals.

Among the requirements set forth by regulators are that operators must establish servers within state lines, and sportsbooks must use official league data.

After the Administrative Rules Division reviews the draft, it will head to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. Then the MGCB must put together a regulatory impact statement followed by a public hearing within 28 days of that statement’s approval.

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Rhode Island goes remote for sports betting registration

Since launching in September 2019, Rhode Island sports betting has resulted in a mere $46.2 million in online wagers for $3.5 million in revenue.

Those figures should spike in the near future, as Gov. Gina Raimondo signed off on bills to eliminate the requirement for in-person registration on mobile accounts.

Previously, new bettors were required to visit one of the state’s two Twin River casinos to complete the sign-up process for an online sports betting account. Within the next month, that requirement will no longer exist. And that could lead to increased action in Rhode Island.

Consider that the Department of Revenue reported that some 14,000 potential bettors began the registration process on their phone but never completed it at a casino. Further, only 45% of all downloads have been fully activated, roughly 30% lower than the industry average.

Then factor in the potential to capture business from residents in nearby states, such as Massachusetts.

This decision rights a previous wrong. The trigger was the coronavirus pandemic. Green-lighting remote registration means fewer people will travel to casinos and have physical interactions, thus minimizing the potential transmission of the virus.

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Written by

Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf throughout his career.

View all posts by Grant Lucas