Bally Bet Highlights Latest Big-Name Book Waiting to Join Illinois Sports Betting Market

Bally Bet, WynnBET, Circa Sports, and Unibet are still waiting for license approval in Illinois — with some waiting much longer than others.

Last Updated: Sep 21, 2022 2:01 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
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Bally’s Interactive, the parent company of Bally Bet, recently applied for a Management Service Provider license with the Illinois Gaming Board, joining a growing list of notable operators waiting to get a piece of the Illinois sports betting pie.

A Management Service Provider license is a legal requirement for any book looking to offer online sports betting in the Prairie State. The application status details offered by the IGB currently list Bally Bet’s license status as 'Applicant' (as of September 12).

Missing from those details is information that would specify whether Bally will be tethered to its tentatively planned downtown casino in Chicago... or whether it would operate through its Rock Island Casino in Quad Cities.

Bally Bet Sportsbook is licensed and offers legal sports betting in five other states (Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Indiana, New York, and Virginia) and joins a few other big names that are stuck in the Illinois queue: Circa Sports, WynnBET, and Unibet.

However, if the time spent in applicant status from those other books are any indication, we may not see Bally Bet launch anytime soon.

  • Circa (currently in Nevada, Colorado, and Iowa) has been in the applicant stage since June 16, after having submitted its application in November of 2021. It has expressed plans to tether its mobile wagering to the Full House Resorts casino that will be located in Waukegan.

  • WynnBet has been in the application stage since November 2, 2021, and has yet to publicly disclose to which casino it will ultimately be tethered to. Illinoise would be the 10th market for WynnBET, which currently operates in Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, and Virginia.

  • According to the IGB, Unibet has been an applicant since November 16, 2020, and has plans to tether its eventual mobile operations to the Argosy Casino in Alton. Unibet is currently available in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Iowa, Indiana, and Arizona.

Money to be made in Illinois

Because Illinois has established itself as a Top 3 market for overall handle — despite currently only having seven statewide operators — it is no surprise that those operators are waiting in line at the IGB.

Illinois is part of an exclusive club that can officially say it has passed the $1-billion mark in total in sports betting revenue, joining New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, and becoming the fastest state to hit the milestone (27 months).

The Land of Lincoln was not immune to the summer slowdown that drove down sports betting figures across the nation. Still, operators in the state saw the third-highest handle in the country in July ($516.4 million) and generated $46.1 million in revenue, good for a hold of 8.9%.

Illinois' July handle leaderboard was topped by FanDuel, taking in $169.9 million in bets from mobile wagering and its retail sportsbook at the Fairmount Park racetrack. Following just behind in second was DraftKings, tethered to the Ameristar Casino Hotel in East Chicago, who reported a total handle of $155.9 million. In third, BetRivers (aligned with Rivers Casino Des Plaines) handled $61.6 million in wagers.

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