BetMGM Enters Illinois Just in Time for Mobile Betting Registration

Posted on: March 5, 2022, 02:42h. 

Last updated on: March 5, 2022, 04:36h.

BetMGM, one of the largest iGaming and online sportsbook operators in the US, announced today it’s accepting sports wagers in Illinois.

Illinois BetMGM
Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan (right) in a recent game. BetMGM is launching in Illinois as the state’s in-person registration requirement for mobile betting fades away. (Image: ESPN)

The news arrives as the already thriving regulated sports betting market in the sixth-largest state is waiving its in-person registration requirement. That means bettors don’t have to go to a land-based casino to be eligible to place wagers via computers and mobile phones.

This launch marks a significant milestone for BetMGM as we enter one of the country’s biggest sports betting markets,” said BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt in a statement.

BetMGM is a 50/50 joint venture of MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM) and Entain Plc (OTC:GMVHY). Illinois is the 22nd market the operator entered, and in those states, the company usually leads in terms of internet casino market share (in states where that’s allowed) and is among the top three for online sports betting share.

Fresh off its January debut in New York, BetMGM’s launch in Illinois is relevant to industry analysts and investors. That’s because the company has an established record of iGaming and sports wagering leadership in nearby Michigan.

Good Timing for BetMGM

Indicating that BetMGM has some impeccable timing regarding its Illinois entry, the state’s in-person registration mandate is no longer in effect as of today.

That could open the floodgates in a state that generated a handle of nearly $9 billion in less than two years of regulated sports betting. When Illinois initially went live with sports betting on March 9, 2020, the state rolled out an 18-month waiting period for online operators, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, to give land-based casino operators a head start.

Those internet operators skirted that mandate by applying their brands to local casinos. Later, as the state faced budget woes owing to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) waived the in-person registration requirement to boost revenue.

He again implemented it last April amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in the state. Even with the on-again, off-again live registration mandate, Illinois ascended the ranks of states by sports betting handle, placing fourth as of the end of 2021.

Good Timing Part II

Based on the $8.9 billion as of Dec. 31, 2021 — the period for which data are most recently available — adults in Illinois are wagering $9,341 a minute on sports, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Alone, that point confirms the allure of Illinois to gaming operators. But further cementing the notion that BetMGM’s timing is excellent is the fact that the NCAA Tournament — annually one of the most wagered-on sporting events in the US — starts on March 13.

With multiple teams from Illinois expected to be in the tournament, and perhaps up to seven Big 10 teams making the field, March Madness 2022 could be a significant revenue generator for Illinois and the sports wagering companies operating there.