Circa Sports moved another step closer to its impending entrance into the Illinois sports betting scene Thursday after partner Full House Resorts was approved for an Owners’ Master Sports Wagering license by the Illinois Gaming Board.
Circa was approved for a Management Services Provider license, which is required to offer mobile wagering in the state, at the IGB’s previous meeting in late April. At Thursday’s meeting, IGB Administrator Marcus Fruchter approved Circa’s key personnel in connection with mobile activity.
“We hope to be live late August/early Sept[ember],” Jeffrey Benson, Circa Sports director of operations, told Sports Handle via direct message on Twitter. “We are excited to partner with Full House and provide sports betting the way it should be to all Illinoians.”
Full House was able to submit its application for the retail sports wagering license after being approved for a full casino owner’s license earlier in Thursday’s meeting. State law requires a casino to be fully licensed before submitting an application for a retail sports wagering license, and Full House entered Thursday’s meeting with only a temporary operating permit.
Full House opened a temporary casino — aptly named The Temporary — in Waukegan in February, and Circa Sports has a dedicated area for a sportsbook in the facility, which is located approximately 40 miles north of Chicago near the Wisconsin border. Having already been approved for a Management Services Provider license, Circa Sports must make a request to the IGB to commence mobile wagering in the state before accepting bets.
Finally, a new sportsbook for Illinois bettors
Two-parter. IGB approves Full House Resorts for a master sports wagering retail license, which will be run by @CircaSports. Additionally, Circa key persons personnel were approved for mobile wagering related activities.#SportsBetting #Illinois
— Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73) June 15, 2023
If Benson’s projected timetable holds, Circa will be the first new sportsbook in Illinois since BetMGM entered the mobile space in March 2022. Bettors have proven they do not need an overwhelming amount of mobile options for expansive wagering, as the seven currently conducting business have made Illinois one of five states in the post-PASPA era to surpass $1 billion monthly handle.
Licensees in Illinois are limited to one mobile skin for sports wagering, and Circa reached an agreement with Full House to enter Illinois in May 2022. Circa submitted its application to the IGB to conduct mobile wagering shortly thereafter.
The IGB’s approval of Full House Resorts for an organizational sports wagering license lifts the total amount of licensees in the state to 11. There are currently 13 brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in Illinois, a total that includes three off-track betting locations run by Hawthorne Race Course through PointsBet. The state’s two tracks are allowed to operate up to three OTB-based sportsbooks based on the 2019 gaming expansion bill Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed that legalized sports wagering in Illinois.
Illinois ranks fourth overall in the post-PASPA era with close to $22.6 billion handle since the first wagers were accepted in March 2020, just as the COVID pandemic took hold. Pritzker’s subsequent executive orders suspending the in-person registration provision of the 2019 bill provided a quicker path to mobile maturity, with the Land of Lincoln now asserting itself as the No. 2 market nationally behind New York.