The Downtown Vegas-based casino operator – in partnership with Full House Resorts – will be setting up a racebook and sportsbook in Illinois, marking the beginning of a new era for sports betting in the Land of Lincoln. The move allows the company to expand its operation footing to its fourth state since launching in 2019, following Nevada, Colorado, and Iowa.
At the start of the month, Circa Sports revealed that its Illinois operations would launch sometime in the third quarter of 2023. But recent reports indicate that the actual launch is slated for late August, just in time for the official kick-off of the football season.
Upcoming Launch of Circa Sports in Illinois: The Timeline
Circa Sports announced its plans to enter the lucrative Illinois sports betting market over a year ago, on May 9, 2022. The company shared an update, revealing that it had inked an agreement with Full House Resorts as its land-based casino partner in Illinois.
Applying for a Gaming License: Circa Sports and Full House Resorts’ American Palace Join Forces
The same month, the operator initially applied for a Management Services Provider license from IGB in conjunction with the soon-to-be-launched American Palace Casino.
American Palace will be a luxurious $375 million hotel and casino nestled in Waukegan, Illinois’s highly sought-after Fountain Square hub (previously Lakehurst Mall). The Full House Resorts-operated property will be tucked off Interstate 94, 35 miles just north of Downtown Chicago.
Once completed, American Palace Casino will play host to the first retail sportsbook operated by Circa Sports outside of Nevada. The property’s permanent casino will boast a 325,000-square-foot gaming floor with plenty of action.
The operator claimed that the casino space will feature over 200 table games, more than 1600 slot machines, and a massive entertainment venue that can seat 1500 people at capacity. In addition to the Circa Sports permanent racebook and sportsbook, the adjoining hotel will incorporate 20 luxe villas running the gamut from 1,500 to 2,500 square feet.
However, Full House Resorts, Inc. has not yet broken the ground on the new American Palace Waukegan. It’s scheduled to open in 2025.
The Temporary by American Palace Launches
In the meantime, the Las Vegas-headquartered developer has opened an interim casino, deservedly christened The Temporary by American Palace.
The temporary facility opened on February 17 in Northern Chicagoland, just 30 minutes north of O’Hare International Airport. The Temporary by American Palace has already gained traction with Chicagoans and tourists alike, welcoming them with more than 1,000 slot machines spread across the gaming center.
New slot titles to look forward to include Dragon Cash, Lock it Link, Dancing Drums Prosperity, Dragon Link, Golden Fire Link, Ultimate Fire Link Explosion, Huff n MORE Puff, and Rich Little Piggies.
Fans of table games weren’t left behind. The temporary casino features nearly a hundred gaming tables for fan favorites like Three Card Poker, baccarat, Mississippi Stud, blackjack, craps, Ultimate Texas Hold ’em, and many variations of roulette.
Circa Sports Receives License from IGB
The long-awaited expansion to the fourth state is nearly over for Circa Sports, and the grand launch will soon take place, after more than a year of waiting.
The Illinois Gaming Board confirmed earlier this month that it had approved Circa Sports’ application to provide sports betting to Illinoisans. The long-anticipated gaming license gives the operator the green light to establish brick-and-mortar and online sportsbooks in Illinois.
The IGB approval means the Nevada-based company will soon join seven sportsbook operators that have already set up sports betting operations in the Land of Lincoln. BetRivers was among the pioneers of online sports betting in Illinois, launching its sportsbook in June 2020 in partnership with Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, after it received a master license from the IGB.
BetMGM — an online gambling platform owned and operated by MGM Resorts International — launched an internet-only sportsbook soon after.
As covered by Sun Times, DraftKings launched its sportsbook in early August 2020; a few days after Gov. Pritzker signed an executive order. Archrival Fanduel launched its online sportsbook a few weeks later, followed by Barstool, Caesars Sportsbook, PointsBet, and Bally Bet.
Circa Sportsbook to Launch in August in The Temporary by American Palace Casino
The exact launch date for the much-awaited Circa Sports Illinois operation has been a bit vague. Early this month, the Marketing Manager at Circa Sports, Aaron Oster, told reporters that the company plans to launch its online sports betting in Q3 2023, pending license approval.
However, the operator revised the launch date to August immediately after the IGM approved its Management Services Provider license.
While awaiting the 2025 completion of American Palace Waukegan, the new online sportsbook will begin its Illinois journey in the temporary facility.
As mentioned, The Temporary by American Palace has been operating since mid-February but on a probationary basis under the regulations of the Illinois Gaming Board. Only after completing this crucial stage will the casino property receive a non-restricted gaming license that will enable it to operate racebooks and sportsbooks.
Accordingly, Circa’s online sportsbook must wait until August, when the probationary period elapses, to go live and welcome Illinois bettors. The operator will welcome bettors to a state-of-the-art sports betting lounge in The Temporary, as well as launch its popular mobile app for sports betting in Illinois.
The Circa Sportsbook at The Temporary is poised to incorporate a dedicated betting area with multiple ticketing windows, wagering kiosks, and large screens streaming odds in real-time.
Once it is launched, the lounge will enable punters to catch all the sports action on close to 40 LED TVs that range from 60-inch to 80-inch screens. Illinois bettors can also see all the action on the Circa Sports mobile app, where they can sign up, deposit money, and bet on their favorite markets from wherever they may be in the state.