Hawthorne Race Course

  • The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) has made Hawthorne Race Course the first race track in Illinois to receive a sports betting license.
  • With this approval, their partner PointsBet can now request to launch their sportsbook application in writing to the IGB.

CICERO, Ill.The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) met on Thursday through a virtual meeting where they approved the Hawthorne Race Course for a temporary sports betting license. This is great news for Hawthorne, their sportsbook partner PointsBet, and the gamblers in the state of Illinois.

Once the horse racing track is able to launch their legal sports wagering expansion, it will allow PointsBet to offer their online application for sports bettors to use pending another approval by IGB.

The sports betting operator already has a temporary permit for management services in the state.

Why Is This Such A Big Deal?

For a moment in time, Governor J.B. Pritzker lifted the requirement for gamblers in the state to have to use in-person registration in order to sign up for a mobile sports betting account with the casino that the sportsbook is affiliated with.

However, the Governor has since put that rule back within the state’s laws as establishments have reopened to the public again. Many people have not yet wanted to venture back to these facilities making it a near impossibility to wager on sporting events with state-sanctioned mobile applications if they did not already sign up for an account.

However, Hawthorne is now the first race track in the state to be licensed to operate a sportsbook at their venue. Even with the in-person registration requirement, people may feel more comfortable going to an open-spaced race track rather than a casino when taking into account the trepidation that COVID-19 has created.

The meeting held by the Illinois Gaming Board on Thursday voted unanimously to approve Hawthorne.

“This is a truly monumental moment for Hawthorne Race Course and the entire Illinois horse racing industry,” said Tim Carey, President, and CEO of Hawthorne Race Course.

With Hawthorne being given their temporary license approval, PointsBet can make their written request to launch their mobile sports betting platform to the IGB.

There is no word yet as to which locations will expand with sportsbooks for Hawthorne as they have 11 OTB locations but can only choose three. PointsBet will operate the track’s retail sports betting as well as offering their own mobile outlets.

With a temporary license, the initial offerings at Hawthorne are expected to be small until they have constructed state-of-the-art sportsbook additions to their properties. The new sports betting venue will be part of their new casino, making all gambling a separate yet connected part of all three locations.

What’s Next?

With this news, not only does it make Hawthorne the first race track in Illinois to become approved for legal sports betting but it officially gets PointsBet into the game for the Prairie State.

Originally, sports betting operators like PointsBet and DraftKings would’ve had to wait 18 months per Illinois law to offer mobile sports betting in the state. But they found a way to bypass that rule by latching onto a land-based business and putting some stake into that business making it somewhat their own.

It took DraftKings about a month after sending their request letter to the IGB to receive their approval.

If this is the case for PointsBet, they should see their own approval by the end of August but most definitely before the start of NFL season.

This opens the door for Illinois sports bettors to have more mobile sports betting options to choose from with the entrance of DraftKings and now PointsBet. Currently, BetRivers Sportsbook is the first and only mobile sportsbook in Illinois.

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