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Operators call for compliance “grace period” in Illinois


Industry stakeholders have suggested policies such as a pre-registration process, a 270-day “grace period” to comply with regulations and licensing reciprocity between jurisdictions as part of Illinois’ public consultation period on legal sports wagering.

Some stakeholders and members of the public also used the consultation period to criticize Churchill Downs Incorporated for its decision not to operate a racino at Arlington racetrack in the state, where it will instead only take sports wagers.

The public consultation process ran from 27 August to 27 September and included input from operators including William Hill, MGM and Rivers Casino, as well as other stakeholders and members of the public.

William Hill requested license reciprocity between “major gaming jurisdictions” as well as a pre-registration period to “provide for a smoother launch” and in-stadium registration.

The operator also called for a 270-day grace period to comply with regulations. It argued operators would find it “very difficult” to adapt to regulations announced only weeks before the market went live. Sportsbook operators and casinos would struggle to share customer data and the Gambling Board would only have a short timescale to adopt the federal guidelines on money laundering, it said.

William Hill also said that the Illinois Gaming Board should examine its data requirements closely and “consider whether the terms [for the purchase of data by operators] are commercially reasonable.”

Spread betting operator PointsBet, meanwhile, requested for betting on collegiate sports to be permitted and for operators to partner with data providers other than the league’s own data.

Rivers Casino, operators of Illinois’s largest casino in Des Plaines, requested sports betting to be permitted anywhere on a licensed operator’s gaming floor.

Shared customer data and license reciprocity were also proposed by IGT, while MGM Resorts and Rivers Casino proposed a pre-registration process.

Affiliate marketing company Group submitted input regarding the regulation of affiliates, calling for a registration process, a ban on affiliates who work with unlicensed offshore operators and further dialogue with the Gaming Board.

Churchill Downs’ decision not to apply for a racino license at Arlington Park also drew a great deal of criticism, with members of the public calling on the company to have its sports betting license revoked. A racino at the site was requested as part of the state’s gaming expansion bill, after the company acquired a majority stake in Rivers Casino in Des Plaines.

“Churchill Downs has failed the most basic test of honesty and integrity,” the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association said in its letter to the Gaming Board.

Members of the public, on the other hand, voiced concerns about the delayed roll-out of mobile wagering in the state. Operators will have to wait 18 months after retail wagering launches before they can offer betting via mobile devices, which contributors said could slow market growth.

“Every day you hesitate to implement mobile sports betting in Illinois you are losing money,” one contributor said. “Mobile sports betting will likely be the greatest revenue generator in the realm of gambling. These days no one is interested in going to a venue to place a bet.”

Another said mobile betting had to be launched as soon as possible to ensure Illinois could keep up with neighbouring states, suggesting that they would drive to Indiana to place bets until it launches.