PointsBet Continues U.S. Expansion, Launches Fourth Retail Sportsbook in Illinois

With further expansion into the U.S. legal sports betting market in mind, PointsBet is launching its fourth retail sportsbook in Illinois in partnership with Hawthorne Race Course. The retail outlet is located in the metropolitan Chicago area.

Last Updated: Jan 17, 2023 11:33 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
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Australian-based gaming operator PointsBet recently announced that it has launched its fourth retail sportsbook in the state of Illinois in partnership with Hawthorne Race Course.

The new retail outlet is located at Club Hawthorne in Villa Park, a prime venue within the metropolitan Chicago area, and is a further signal of PointsBet's strategic ambitions to establish itself as a major player in the U.S. legal sports betting industry.

Housed inside the Crazy Pour Sports Bar at Club Hawthorne, the PointsBet retail sportsbook will enable its customers to wager from the confines of a luxurious full-service bar and restaurant that can accommodate up to 400 patrons, 

With Illinois sports betting being one of the top sports betting markets in the U.S., the addition of the Villa Park outlet extends PointsBet's presence and deepens its ties with the Hawthorne Race Course company, owner of the largest network of off-track betting bars for horse racing in Illinois.

"The PointsBet Retail Sportsbook is part of PointsBet's continued efforts to expand our footprint in a key state like Illinois, and we're thrilled to be able to provide the Illinois sports community with another premier location that caters to both sports fans and bettors – and everyone in between," said PointsBet USA CEO Johnny Aitken. 

The sprawling, 15,000 square-foot facility is a highly popular destination for Chicago-area sports fans who can now bet on all major pro sports matches and other events while watching games on a 26-foot-wide HD display in addition to 160 high-resolution TVs, including, and five 160" jumbo displays. The location also features an LED sports ticker, a private party and VIP room, and a fully covered heated patio.

"There's nowhere else in Chicagoland where you can bet on sports, horse racing, and video slots," said Tim Carey, CEO of Hawthorne Race Course. "Only Club Hawthorne betting bars have it all. We're building an integrated on-site entertainment experience with great food and drinks, and excellent service for the next generation of sports fans."

Horse racing is considered an important pillar of PointsBet's U.S. growth strategy, with PointsBet Group CEO Sam Swanell saying it has a unique role to play alongside sports betting in the U.S.

"Despite already generating over $6.5 billion per annum in industry online handle, we consider it an attractive category on the cusp of further expansion on the back of the ongoing shift from brick and mortar to digital," he said.

PointsBet's launch of its latest retail sportsbook comes on the heels of the December news that PointsBet has entered into negotiations to sell its Australian sportsbook division to a new startup operator, the Murdoch-family backed betr (not to be confused with Jake Paul's upper-case Betr micro-gaming startup).  

Illinois key to PointsBet's U.S. push

PointsBet has been making steady inroads into the U.S. betting market ever since it first launched in New Jersey in 2019 and is currently the seventh-largest sportsbook in the U.S. with a 3.7% market share. 

Illinois is one of the largest U.S. sports betting markets and in November registered another record handle of $1.03 billion, marking the second consecutive month that the Prairie State has crossed the billion-dollar monthly handle mark and one of only four states — New York, New Jersey, and Nevada are the others — to have ever done so.

As is typical in the U.S. industry, online sports betting accounted for the vast majority (96.1%) of total handle in November — almost $990 million as compared to retail's puny 3.9% share — and nearly identical to October figures. 

This makes Illinois a potentially lucrative market for PointsBet, which is currently live in 14 U.S. states as well as in Ontario, Canada's most populous province.  This past Fall, PointsBet launched both retail and online sports wagering in Maryland and went live in Ohio on January 1.

This operator has previously gone live in all major U.S. markets — New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois, and Indiana — as well as in Colorado, Michigan, Iowa, West Virginia, Virginia, Kansas, and Louisiana.

According to global PointsBet CEO Sam Swanell, North America offers the greatest opportunity for sports betting growth due to various factors: population size, the immense popularity of sports, and the proliferation of time outs and commercial sponsorship breaks during NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL games. 

"Their sports are set up for betting, there are more breaks in play, more sports, and a sizable population. All the logic indicates this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this billion-dollar industry," he said.

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