PlayUSA Rewind: Illinois Sports Betting Expands, Online Registration Returns

Written By Grant Lucas on August 26, 2020 - Last Updated on October 29, 2020

Another week, another stacked set of online gambling news from across the US.

Before we cannonball in, and in case we don’t touch on all the goings-on, be sure to check out the heaping helping of video updates over at our PlayUSA channel, which will catch you up on many other newsworthy events from all over this great country.

Last week, one state attempted to set the record for most news at one time.

On to the Rewind:

Illinois sports betting makes all the news

So many things came out of Illinois, there might not be enough room on the internet to recap what happened recently. But we’ll give it a shot.

Let’s start with Hollywood Casino, which introduced kiosks and betting windows at its Aurora and Joliet casinos.

Then we’ll move on to FanDuel Sportsbook, which finally (but technically unofficially) landed a land-based partner in the Land of Lincoln: Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria.

This notion stems from a page on the operator’s website that included Par-A-Dice in a particular logo. The pairing tracks, of course, as the casino’s parent company works closely with FanDuel. Both FanDuel and Par-A-Dice have received their sports betting licenses in Illinois, which opens the possibility of a relatively quick launch for FanDuel Sportsbook.

If FanDuel does roll out rapidly, it could capitalize on a recent order from Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The governor issued an executive order recently pertaining to a number of state actions relating to COVID-19. Among them, and under the radar, was the reinstitution of Executive Order 2020-41, which temporarily lifts the state’s requirement for in-person registration to create accounts with online sportsbooks.

This is the second time Pritzker has executed such an action. This recent suspension will remain in effect through at least Sept. 19.

While this window certainly could be extended, there is no doubt that online operators in Illinois will be working tirelessly to roll out betting apps within the next month. With BetRivers and DraftKings Sportsbook the only online options, it seems likely that PointsBet could enter the mix in due time.

Target date finally set for Tennessee sports betting

Some 16 months have passed since Gov. Bill Lee allowed a bill to become law to legalize sports betting in Tennessee. During that time, six states legalized and launched regulated wagering.

Barely so much as a target date ever emerged in Tennessee, though. Until now.

Rebecca Hargrove, CEO of the Tennessee Education Lottery, noted that the state intends to begin legalized sports betting by Nov. 1 at the latest.

Four operators have applied for licensing in Tennessee, which will become the first state with an online-only industry. The lottery’s board only awaits criminal background checks on those four operators.

The world will finally get its first look at a US state with such a unique online-only landscape. Tennessee will not limit the number of operators, but the state will levy a 20% tax rate while requiring bookmakers to use official league data.

To boot, state regulators have capped the annual payout percentage of each operator at 90%, meaning a minimum hold requirement of 10% for each sportsbook. Not even the likes of NevadaNew Jersey or Pennsylvania can meet that standard. The max hold within that trio is 8.2%.

Any operator that doesn’t hit a 10% hold could face fees or even license suspensions.

But hey, at least we finally have a circled date for the launch of Tennessee sports betting.

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Esports group ready to enter New Jersey sports betting

While New Jersey has continued to rise as a legalized sports betting power state, some operators are still looking to get in on the action.

One such party, Esports Entertainment Group, Inc., has found an avenue into the market, as it entered into a partnership with Twin River Worldwide Holdings, Inc.

Esports Entertainment, which primarily focuses on eSports wagering, has targeted New Jersey for an online sports betting product. Pending regulatory approval of its acquisition of Bally’s Atlantic City, Twin River will obtain three open slots for mobile wagering skins. One of them will go to Esports Entertainment.

The group owns licenses for online gambling overseas in the likes of the UKIrelandMalta and Curacao. And it has an office in New Jersey, which will be Esports Entertainment’s first foray into the US.

If all goes to plan, the group will bring its array of offerings, ranging from fixed-odds to eSports, as well as fantasy and pools.

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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf throughout his career.

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