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BetMGM Launching Illinois Sports Betting App Soon

The long wait for the famous BetMGM sportsbook to arrive in Illinois could be over very soon. Their license application was finally approved by the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) last week. So, bettors won’t have to wait too much longer, the BetMGM betting app is set to launch in March.

Arial view of Illinois

BetMGM endured a painful 16-month wait for the Illinois Gaming Board to approve their application and issue them with a sports betting license. Now the operator is wasting absolutely no time getting their Illinois sports betting app ready for launch in March 2022.

Why did it take so long?

BetMGM originally submitted their application to the IGB in September 2020. However, it was only given the green light just last week. BetMGM will be partnering with Boyd Gaming’s Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria. This might sound strange as they were previously partnered up with FanDuel, but that partnership ended in March 2021, with FanDuel moving on to team up with the Fairmount Park Racetrack.

This new alliance has left the door open for BetMGM to take over the Par-A-Dice partnership instead. It was also the obvious choice, given the previous alliance between Boyd Gaming and MGM Resorts International.

Another factor that played a role in the lengthy process was the Covid-19 pandemic. Illinois online sports betting was legalised in March 2020, exactly when the pandemic was at its worst. With games being canceled and entire countries going into lockdown, the process was inevitably delayed.

Raring to go

Following their approval last week, BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt said: “We’re thrilled that BetMGM is now licensed in Illinois. We thank the Illinois Gaming Board and, pending regulatory approvals, look forward to bringing BetMGM’s leading digital sports betting experience to Illinois sports fans on March 5, when digital registration is permitted in the state.”

Illinois is currently the only notable state that is yet to have access to the BetMGM sportsbook, with it being available in 16 other states. Illinois is a massive market for sports betting, so it’s understandable that BetMGM would be “thrilled” to have become licensed at last.

However, March 5th is approaching fast, so the BetMGM team has no time to waste, and they will need to have all their affairs in order if they are looking to have a successful launch. It certainly won’t be an easy task.

Stiff competition

An operator with a fantastic reputation like BetMGM entering the Illinois market is great news for bettors. However, BetMGM is up against some tough competition in Illinois. There are currently six top bookmakers already up and running in the state: BetRivers, FanDuel, DraftKings, PointsBet, Caesars Sportsbook, and Barstool Sportsbook.

All of the operators in that list are amongst the best in the industry and they won’t be going down without a fight. BetRivers, FanDuel, and DraftKings were the first mobile sportsbook operators to forge their path into the Illinois sports betting market. Between the three of them they have already secured a massive 80% of all sports bets placed in Illinois, which gives them a very distinct advantage. The remaining 20% is accounted for by PointsBet, Barstool, and Caesars, who are trailing far behind.

As a ‘new’ operator, BetMGM has a tall order to fill if they want to grab a decent chunk of the Illinois betting market. However, they do have one ace up their sleeves. It’s been over 12 months since the last online betting operator, Barstool Sportsbook, opened its virtual doors.

Potentially, this means that many Illinois bettors will be craving a new welcome bonus to take advantage of. After all, BetMGM has some of the best betting offers in the US states where it already operates. So, if anything, BetMGM will see a huge influx of new customers in Illinois when they launch on 5 March.

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