Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker extended mobile registration due to COVID-19 again on Friday that will remain in effect until February 6. The re-issued Executive Order 2020-41, which came a day before the expiry of the previous extension, was the seventh such extension to prolong the suspension of the in-person registration requirement for new bettors to access online sports betting.

The renewal of 2020-41 which was issued on Friday is one of many renewals in of the executive order. The previous renewal order (Executive Order 2020-74) that was issued December 11 expired last Saturday.

Latest Surge in COVID-19 Cases in Illinois

The Prairie State is currently witnessing a surge in the coronavirus cases, sitting in Tier 3 of the state’s Resurgence Mitigation Plan. The state needs to return to Tier 2 before it allows Illinois casinos to reopen and even then casinos will be allowed to operate at 25% of their usual capacity limit. To return to Tier 2, the region must have a COVID positive rate under 8% for a certain time period. However, the positivity rate is currently 8.4% across Illinois. So, until casinos reopen, in-person registration is not possible.

In any case, the recurrence of Pritzker’s order is imminent as long as COVID-19 cases in Illinois do not decrease. On Friday, the state health officials revealed 9,277 new coronavirus cases in addition to 126 new deaths in the Prairie State. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the number of cases continued to rise last week.

Illinois Timeline Since 1st Executive Order

The governor issued order 2020-41 on June 4, 2020, and again in late August when Pritzker allowed online-sign-ups once more. Since then, online registration for bettors has been in effect due to COVID-19. The Prairie State closed its ten casinos on November 19 due to the increase in virus cases, seven of which provide retail sports betting.

The renewal allows bettors to instantly sign up for any of Illinois’ five mobile sportsbook operators via online or smartphone. The latest remote registration extension order was incorporated in Executive Order 2021-01: “Executive Order 2020-41 is re-issued in its entirety and extended through February 6, 2021.”

Will Illinois Mobile Registration Become Permanent?

So far, the pandemic has had salutary effects on the mobile sports betting industry in the US, including Illinois, which became the fourth biggest market in the country with $434.6 million in October handle. New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania are the top three sports betting markets in the US. Though the November report is yet to release, experts believe Illinois sports betting could cross the $500 million mark. This boastful figure could barely be possible with an in-person registration requirement in place.

Supported by mobile registration, 94.3% of the sports betting in October was through mobile. In the near future, Illinois bettors will have another digital option in Golden Nugget Online Gaming, which announced in November that it would partner with Danville Development LLC to offer online sports betting and iGaming services. This could further increase the revenue that Illinois takes from the industry.

With both the pandemic preventing in-person registration and the huge increase in handle and revnue off the back of allowing remot registration, online registration in Illinois appears to be a permanent feature, at least in the near future.

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