The Illinois Gaming Board has given the green light to Betway and Hard Rock for sports betting licenses, marking a significant expansion in the state’s betting market.
Betway has been approved for an online-only sports betting license, while Hard Rock has been granted licenses for both mobile and retail betting.
Betway: The Lone Online-Only Licensee
In a second round of applications for online-only wagering licenses, Betway, a subsidiary of Las Vegas-based Digital Gaming Corp (DGC IL), emerged as the sole approved candidate. Unlike other operators in the state, DGC IL’s license will not be tied to any casino, racetrack, or sports venue.
DGC IL had previously applied for the online sports betting license during the first round of applications last year but withdrew from the process. Since then, it has been acquired by Super Group, a British online gaming holding company seeking to expand its presence in the US.
Before obtaining final approval to operate in Illinois, DGC IL will have to undergo a comprehensive vetting process by the Gaming Board and pay a $20 million licensing fee.
Hard Rock: Mobile and Retail Betting Licenses
Hard Rock Casino Rockford has also received an initial sports wagering license from the Gaming Board, allowing the brand to conduct both retail and online gambling. The approval paves the way for a new physical sportsbook at the property.
Hard Rock is planning a sports betting launch within the next few months, as the casino finalizes internal controls and begins hiring and training staff for the vertical.
The casino, which has been operating as a temporary facility for nearly two years, is in the process of constructing a larger, permanent property to open next year.
The Illinois Gaming Board is considering the possibility of reopening applications for a third round to award the remaining online-only licenses. However, this decision is contingent on the outcome of the DGC IL approval process.
Hopefully, we’ll be seeing new and improved online casinos in the long haul after successful attempts in the near future.