Illinois Regulators Approve Sports Betting Licenses for Hard Rock, Betway

“The Board and staff continue their important work to implement the landmark gaming expansion law and regulate Illinois’ robust and evolving statewide gaming industry in an ethical, transparent, compliant, and efficient manner."

Jul 28, 2023 • 16:10 ET • 4 min read
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One of America’s largest legal sports betting markets is expanding its portfolio of operators. 

The Illinois Gaming Board has approved online betting sites and retail wagering licenses for the owners of Hard Rock Bet and Betway. As part of the process, the IGB has authorized Hard Rock Casino in Rockford to open a sportsbook, while Betway has been granted online access. Hard Rock Casino has also been awarded a sports wagering management service provider license. The casino will be home to the 10th retail sportsbook to gain approval in Illinois. 

“The Board and staff continue their important work to implement the landmark gaming expansion law and regulate Illinois’ robust and evolving statewide gaming industry in an ethical, transparent, compliant, and efficient manner,” said IGB Administrator Marcus D. Fruchter.

Hard Rock Bet’s looming debut in Illinois comes on the heels of a rebrand. Earlier this month, the sportsbook — operated by Hard Rock Digital — announced upgrades that included a new name and appearance. The operator also launched new loyalty and reward programs. 

Hard Rock Bet is live in five additional states: Arizona, Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, and Ohio.

Betway is also expanding business with a new license in the Prairie State. The sportsbook, which is owned by Super Group, has market access in nine states, with a pending launch of operations in Massachusetts. The operator is also a licensed bookmaker in the United Kingdom.  

Potential profits

In May, Illinois sports betting operators reported a total handle of $821.7 million and a record 10.8% hold. The results helped operators post $89 million in revenue from online and retail wagering. 

Online wagering in Illinois made up roughly 97% of May’s sports betting handle driving nearly $86 million in revenue, while brick-and-mortar sportsbooks generated $3 million in revenue.

Illinois has granted market access to seven operators, including BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, and FanDuel — the No. 1 sportsbook in the U.S. in terms of market share at 50%.

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