According to the state agency’s website, Bally’s Interactive submitted the application Sept. 12 and would operate as Bally Bet. The application did not specify if Bally Bet would be tethered to its potential downtown casino in Chicago or its existing Rock Island casino in Quad Cities near the Iowa border. Bally’s acquired the Rock Island venue for $120 million in October 2020 as part of its massive expansion and rebranding from Twin River.
A Management Services Provider license is a required component to offer mobile sports betting in Illinois, which has established itself as a top-three market nationally despite currently having only seven operators. BetMGM was the latest mobile sportsbook to enter the state in March, coinciding with the start of full-time remote registration. Prior to that, Barstool Sportsbook was the most recent entrant in March 2021.
Bally’s submitted its application for the state’s downtown casino license Aug. 11 after beating out Rush Street Interactive and Hard Rock to be the city’s preferred operator in May. Bally’s Quad Cities location has an owner’s license to offer retail sports wagering, but has yet to make that available. Bally Bet launched mobile operations in Iowa in July 2021 and has generated $4.3 million in handle since launch, including $2.3 million through the first eight months of this year.
Growing queue to offer mobile betting in Illinois
Bally’s is the fourth operator currently listed as an applicant for a Management Services Provider license, joining Unibet, WynnBET, and Circa Sports. Unibet has had an applicant status since November 2020, with its retail tether the Argosy Casino in Alton.
It is undetermined which casino WynnBET is tethered to, having submitted its application last November. Circa Sports, which provided its paperwork to the IGB in May, is tethered to the Full House Resorts casino being built in Waukegan near the Wisconsin border. That temporary venue, which is expected to include a retail sportsbook, is slated to open before the end of the year, but it is uncertain how quickly mobile wagering would be available.
In addition to these bids, the IGB is also reviewing an application by Tekkorp Digital Acquisition Corp., which is seeking an online-only license to offer mobile sports betting. There are three online-only licenses available in the state, but they come with a $20 million price tag — double the cost of a standard Management Services Provider license.
FanDuel and DraftKings are the two most popular mobile operators in Illinois, accounting for roughly 65% of the $496.1 million mobile handle from the most recent revenue report covering July. Meanwhile, both Barstool and BetMGM have averaged more than $40 million in monthly handle since their respective launches.
BetRivers, Caesars Sportsbook, and PointsBet also conduct mobile wagering in Illinois, which has generated nearly $14.2 billion in all-time handle since accepting its first bets in March 2020, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 96% of that handle has come from mobile betting, which launched in June of 2020.