The Illinois Gaming Board last week proposed an emergency rule change in relation to branding for mobile and internet sports betting, aiming to clarify distinctions for casinos and sports venues.
The state’s regulatory agency noted the rule “has not been filed with the (Secretary of State) Index Department and is subject to non-substantive changes.”
Illinois legalized sports betting last June when Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a massive capital bill. Rivers Casino was the first to open a retail sportsbook in early March, but it was open for only a week before shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The notable rule changes are the specification of a “parent brand,” which relates to mobile apps tethered to brick-and-mortar casinos or horse racetracks:
a brand under which an organization or owners licensee is operating, or a brand owned by a direct or indirect holding company that owns at least an 80% interest in that organization or owners licensee on June 28, 2019.
and a “facility brand,” which relates to mobile apps tethered to pro sports venues:
the brand under which a sports facility is operating, the brand a sports facility’s designee is operating under, or a combination thereof.
The proposed changes also define “brand” or “branding” as “any identifying mark associated with any licensee, DBA, gambling operation, horse-racing operation, or other entity, including but not limited to a name, DBA, logo, trademark, or color scheme.”
Where might it be relevant?
The distinctions in the rule proposal are designed to offer clarity to casino operators, who have been submitting logos for approval to the Illinois Gaming Board per an industry source. There currently is no mobile betting available in Illinois, but the BetRivers sportsbook could be the first to market as parent company Rush Street Interactive was approved as a Management Services Provider.
RSI’s geofencing partner GeoComply was awarded a temporary operating permit as a supplier in March, and it is possible the IGB could approve a mobile launch at the next scheduled board meeting June 11. Bettors still have to register in-person to gain access to the app, and it is unclear when casinos across Illinois would re-open in the new coronavirus climate.
BetRivers is run by Rivers Casino, and Churchill Downs, Inc. has a majority stake interest in the Des Plaines location. CDI, which purchased 62% ownership for $407 million in 2019, does not reach the threshold to be designated a “parent brand” in this instance, so cannot use the CDI brand on the BetRivers app.
CDI also owns Arlington Park International horse-racing track, which has applied for a sports betting license. It appears more likely CDI would place such a branding on the Bet America app expected to be used should the IGB approve Arlington Park’s application.