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Pointsbet receives Illinois betting permit


Australia-based sports betting operator PointsBet has received a temporary operating permit from the Illinois Gaming Board.

The certification will allow to operator to roll out retail and online wagering in the state, once its partner, the Hawthorne Racecourse in the Southwest Chicago suburbs, receives a master license.

After Governor J.B. Pritzker signed sports betting legislation into law in June 2019, sports betting launched in Illinois on 9 March this year, when the BetRivers sportsbook at Rivers Casino Des Plaines took the first legal sports bets in the state. However, the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), quickly led to a suspension of all retail gambling activity.

BetRivers took the first online sports bets in the state last month, via its Kambi-powered platform.

Pointsbet said that while its main location would be at the Hawthorne Racecourse, it intends to offer a number of off-track locations as well.

“On June, 2019 28, the Governor of Illinois signed sports betting legislation into law,” Pointsbet said. “Since then, Pointsbet and [Hawthorne Racecourse] have been working in tandem towards building a world-class, multi-faceted sports entertainment venue centrally located at the Hawthorne Racecourse, together with several off-track betting outlets throughout the Greater Chicago area.”

Illinois’ sports betting legislation required players to register in person before placing a bet within the first 18 months of the market opening. However, consumers can register for PointsBet’s offering remotely after Pritzker last month signed an executive order to temporarily relax rules requiring players to register in-person.

Licensees will pay a 15% gross revenue tax.

According to the state’s first phase of sports betting rules, the fee for master licenses in Illinois is set at 5% of handle for the 2018 calendar year, at a minimum of $2.3m, and capped at $10m. Racetracks that apply for this license will pay whichever is greater of $5m or 5% of 2018 handle, also capped at $10m.

Under the second phase of rules, betting on minor league or Illinois-based collegiate teams will be banned, including parlay bets and fantasy sports. While the exact list of authorised betting events are not included, master sports wagering licensees will be able to submit written requests to the Gaming Board to for permission to offer odds on an events.

Pointsbet’s sportsbook offering is already live in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and New Jersey. 

Last week, Pointsbet agreed a new deal with online wagering solutions provider BetMakers to launch fixed-odds betting on horse racing in New Jersey.