Illinois Casinos Shut Down Indefinitely Due To Rising COVID-19 Numbers

Land-based casinos in Illinois are once again ceasing operations due to COVID-19 considerations.

Gov. JB Pritzker’s latest round of pandemic-related restrictions went into effect Friday, Nov. 20, with casinos on the list of non-essential businesses required to shut down completely. The state’s ten retail casinos closed their doors at 11:01 pm Friday, with no timetable announced by the Governor’s office regarding a possible reopening date.

Friday’s shutdown marks the beginning of the second period of closure for Illinois casinos. Casino properties were shuttered statewide in mid-March as the gravity of the pandemic became apparent on American shores.

Illinois casinos were authorized to reopen on July 1 at 50 percent capacity. Monthly revenue reports issued by the Illinois Gaming Board showed the state’s casinos bringing in $81.76 million in total adjusted gross receipts in September, producing more than $20 million in state and local tax revenue.

Remote Registration Still Available For Online Sports Betting

With retail casinos forced to close, online sports betting takes center stage as the only form of legal gambling still available to players in the Land of Lincoln. Illinois gaming laws generally require in-person registration to open a new mobile sports betting account, which entails taking a trip to the casino licensing an online sportsbook.

That in-person requirement has been waived by Gov. Pritzker multiple times since the June 18 launch of mobile sports betting in the state. The latest extension of that order runs through Dec. 12.

If retail casinos stay closed beyond that date, Gov. Pritzker will almost certainly continue to waive the in-person requirement and allow Illinois bettors to sign up for online sports betting accounts.

Waiving the in-person registration requirement allows Illinois bettors to access the mobile sportsbooks that have launched in one of the fastest-growing sports betting markets in the US.

Illinois’ online sportsbooks include DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, BetRivers, William Hill, and PointsBet. These mobile sports betting apps allow for wagering from anywhere within Illinois borders.

About the Author

Geoff Fisk

Geoff Fisk is a San Diego-based freelance writer, specializing in the poker and gambling industries. He’s written for numerous platforms and has traveled the globe as a live poker tournament reporter. Geoff’s interests include the legal online poker industry in the U.S. and abroad.