PointsBet is 4th Online Sportsbook to Go Live in Illinois
PointsBet, through its partnership deal with Hawthorne Race Course, is the fourth online/mobile sportsbook app to go live in Illinois, and it’s just in time for the first Sunday of NFL games.
The Australian-based sports betting operator on Saturday joined BetRivers, DraftKings and FanDuel in the Illinois online sports betting market. Mobile registration is currently allowed in Illinois after Gov. JB Pritzker suspended the in-person registration requirement on Aug. 22, giving mobile sportsbooks the ability to sign up bettors anywhere in the state.
PointsBet recently announced it had signed former Chicago Bears star Devin Hester to serve as ambassador for its Chicago-based sports betting products and throughout the state.
"The Chicago market is a tremendous sports betting opportunity, and he will help us connect with those extremely passionate fans," Johnny Aitken, PointsBet USA CEO, said of the partnership with Hester.
The Illinois launch comes days after PointsBet signed the first partnership agreement with an NCAA school — the University of Colorado. Sports betting, fantasy sports, casino games and free-to-play contests are part of the agreement.
And it was just two weeks ago that PointsBet announced a five-year agreement to become the official sports betting partner of NBC Sports. PointsBet will have year-round media and marketing opportunities across NBC Sports platforms. NBC gets an equity share in PointsBet.
Illinois is the fourth state where PointsBet is up and running, joining Indiana, Iowa and New Jersey.
PointsBet Surrounds Chicago
If the in-person registration requirement returns to Illinois, PointsBet is well-positioned in the Chicago area, the third-largest city in the country by population with around 2.7 million people. It will have retail operations at Hawthorne Race Course (about 10 miles from Chicago) and at OTBs In Prospect Heights, Oakbrook Terrace and Crestwood.
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When Hawthorne made its final pitch on July 30 to the Illinois Gaming Board before receiving approval that day, Tim Carey, the president/CEO, said Hawthorne is “fortunate to be located where we are” in relation to Chicago.
At least until Sept. 19, BetRivers, DraftKings, FanDuel and PointsBet can sign up bettors remotely. The Rivers Casinos is just 16 miles from Chicago, but the locations of DraftKings at Casino Queen in East St. Louis (300 miles) and the FanDuel Par-A-Dice Sportsbook in East Peoria (160 miles) aren’t close to Chicago.
PointsBet is the first sports betting operator in Illinois to go live partnering with a horse racetrack.
Avoiding the Illinois ‘Penalty Box’
PointsBet, DraftKings and FanDuel avoided the state’s 18-month waiting period for an online-only sportsbook to go live by partnering with casinos and a racetrack. BetRivers was launched by Rush Street Interactive, the Chicago-based gaming company that owns Rivers Casino.
Sportsbook operators were helped by the gaming board in late April when it posted rules that would allow co-branding for online sports betting. The board made the rules permanent on July 30 and submitted them to the secretary of state.
While PointsBet had access to the market with Hawthorne, DraftKings rebranded the Casino Queen on Aug. 3 and FanDuel launched with the Par-A-Dice Casino on Aug. 28.
Strong Run for PointsBet
Going live in Illinois and securing a deal with the University of Colorado continues an active streak for PointsBet in the U.S. market, including:
- Being named as an official sports betting operator of the PGA Tour on Aug. 18, joining DraftKings and BetMGM. PointsBet will have use of PGA Tour trademarks, be able to market on tour platforms and have access to content and video for pregame and postgame betting programming.
- Becoming the official and exclusive partner on Aug. 7 of the professional teams and venue owned by Kroenke Sports & Entertainment in Colorado — the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League and the Pepsi Center, where the teams play.
- Reaching a sports betting deal on Aug. 5 with the Indiana Pacers, becoming an official partner with the NBA team. As part of the agreement, PointsBet can advertise on the sidelines between the benches and the baseline. It’s the first time a sportsbook will be able to place its branding in that area on the court.
- Becoming the first sports betting operator to reach an agreement with an MLB team on July 2. The agreement with the Detroit Tigers gives PointsBet advertising in the Comerica Park, on the team’s broadcast and on the Tigers’ digital platform.
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