On Monday, sportsbook operator PointsBet announced a 20-year partnership with Hawthorne Race Course near Chicago, securing the operator’s entry into the Illinois sports betting market.
This news comes just days after Illinois’ Governor J.B Pritzker signed a massive gambling expansion bill into law that authorizes sports betting.
Through this partnership, the Australian operator will work with the venue to build a “world-class, multi-faceted sports entertainment venue” at the racetrack.
This partnership will also allow PointsBet and Hawthorne to launch sports betting services at off-track betting venues throughout Illinois, and online and mobile betting via the PointsBet brand.
Johnny Aitken, PointsBet’s US CEO, said: “PointsBet is ecstatic to partner with Hawthorne Race Course, an iconic venue that has been part of the fabric of the Chicago sports and entertainment scene since its inception in 1891.
“Illinois sports fans are diehard in every sense of the word and we are elated to introduce them to our premium sportsbook and our innovative, bettor-first experience.”
Tim Carey, president and general manager of Hawthorne Race Course said: “Governor Pritzker and the Legislature have given us an historic opportunity to transform the Illinois racing industry with the addition of casino gaming and sports betting.
“It’s an opportunity that we won’t take lightly and that’s exactly why we chose PointsBet as our partner. Our business has survived because we put players first, and PointsBet has proven they do as well. That is how we are going to succeed together.”
The deal between PointsBet and the Hawthorne Race Track also strengthens the operator’s presence in the US market.
PointsBet in other states
PointsBet officially entered the US sports betting market in January through a licensing agreement with Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey.
In New Jersey, punters can wager with PointsBet via its online sports betting site or through its mobile app.
PointsBet is also poised to enter Iowa’s sports betting market once regulations have been finalized.
The partnership will see PointsBet offer land-based and online sports betting through the Iowa casino.
As well as launching sports betting operations, both PointsBet and Catfish Bend will work together to create a “multi-faceted sports entertainment venue,” similar to the partnership with Hawthorne Race Track.
Illinois sports betting
On Friday, Governor J.B Pritzker signed Illinois’ gambling expansion bill into law, making Illinois the fifth state to legalize sports betting in 2019.
Once the regulations are finalized, sports betting in Illinois will be offered at land-based casinos, racetracks and via online and mobile apps.
However, online-only operators such as FanDuel and DraftKings will have to wait 18 months until they can serve Illinois’ residents.
In May, the billionaire owner of Rivers Casino, Neil Bluhm, asked lawmakers to create a “penalty box” for DraftKings and FanDuel as he believed the companies were operating their daily fantasy sports service in the state illegally.
The Illinois sports betting market has the potential to be one of the biggest markets in the country. Illinois is home to Chicago, the third largest metropolitan area in the US with a population of 9.5 million people.