The Rivers Casino opened their sportsbook for business in Des Plaines, Illinois on March 9th. Just three days later, all professional and college sports were suspended due to the Coronavirus, causing a sudden decrease in what the betting facility was able to offer new patrons.
Speaking of customers, it had been written into the laws of Illinois sports betting that prospective sports bettors would have to register with the sportsbook before an online wager could be placed on an athletic contest.
Seeing the problem with sending his citizens racing to Des Plaines to register in-person, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed an executive order that allowed for bettors to register over the internet, bypassing the need to travel to the casino and risk exposure to COVID-19.
Last Friday, the Governor rescinded the ability for Illinois citizens to register remotely, on the eve of professional sports beginning anew.
Major League Soccer has already restarted their season, offering an opening tournament that has drawn a lot of attention toward betting on soccer.
Pro baseball has begun again, with limited travel restrictions and a full playoff bracket scheduled to run into October. Betting on the MLB is just getting started, with a full bevy of props and futures odds on the table.
Pro basketball is about to resume their season and crown a champion after the completion of a full, 16-game playoff bracket. Betting on the NBA playoffs will certainly be a prime time wagering option come September.
So, with all of these huge betting opportunities on the horizon, why has Illinois Governor Pritzker decided to revoke his executive order that allows for remote sports betting registration?
It could have everything to do with new competition threatening to enter the Illinois sports betting market. Major players such as DraftKings and FanDuel are interested in capitalizing on Chicago and Illinois area sports betting, but perhaps the Governor does not feel like rolling out the welcome mat for them.
The addition of profitable businesses operating inside of his state would be beneficial to the Governor, so why would he want to restrict their access to his market?
The only logical rationale is that the Rivers Casino at Des Plaines is offering a benefit to him that will be jeopardized if other competitors are allowed a piece of the pie. Otherwise, the Governor would be thrilled with the opportunity to get more of his constituents back to work and at the same time, provide more revenue income to the state.
There could be an update coming as the Illinois Gaming Board has a meeting scheduled for next Thursday, August 6th.
Perhaps it will then become more clear why the Governor rescinded his executive order just prior to major sports resuming play, and whether there are any additional details as to what caused the timing of his decision.
It was the Gaming Board that initially allowed for the addition of new domestic sportsbook operators within the state of Illinois, so the meeting with the Governor present should provide for some presentation of his rationale.
Source: Daily Herald