Golden Nugget Says It’s Coming To Illinois This Year, But Is That Realistic?

Written By Joe Boozell on May 18, 2021
golden nugget illinois pipe dream

During an earnings call this week, Golden Nugget President, Thomas Winter, announced that the gaming company intends to introduce “online sports in Illinois” in the last quarter of 2021.

Ever since Golden Nugget signed a market access deal with Danville Development, it’s been clear that they have an interest in the Illinois market. The necessary branding will be in place if and when the Danville casino is constructed.

However, despite bettors in Illinois desiring another sports betting app, certain crucial factors are hindering Winter’s desired launch schedule.

Let’s delve into them, Let’s proceed.

No admittance to the Illinois sports betting industry

The proposed casino in Danville could potentially provide Golden Nugget with an entry into the sports betting market. However, the Danville project is yet to receive the green light from the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB).

Despite applying in November 2020, Golden Nugget and Danville have not yet received their licenses from the IGB. This is also the case for those who applied as far back as October 2019.

In simpler terms, the approval of the Danville blackjack by the IGB might not be immediate. This doesn’t even consider the time required for construction.

Therefore, it is not clear how Golden Nugget plans to rapidly gain market access.

Unless & hellip,

Does Golden Nugget cover the cost of a mobile-only permit?

Could Golden Nugget possibly pay the required $20 million for a license applicable only to mobile devices? The process for implementing those certificates might start in December.

Should that be the situation, it is probable that the IGB will not issue any licenses until 2022, as per the wording of the law. The application process only commences in December.

If a new market access deal isn’t being planned, it seems to be the fastest way for Golden Nugget to enter the market at present.

By the way, if Golden Nugget purchases the mobile-only license, it will be beneficial for all other Illinois sports betting operators. The acquisition of this license will lead to the elimination of in-person registration for all.

Illinois’ Golden Nugget Sportsbook is a very, very long way away.

Golden Nugget Sportsbook has not yet applied for a sports betting license in Illinois as of now.

Currently, BetMGM and Unibet are the two pending applicants from Illinois. BetMGM submitted their application in September and Unibet in November.

Since that time, we have received no updates from the IGB about their program status. Consequently, the controller may be unpleasantly surprised if they expect the IGB to take swift action, especially if this is anticipated by Golden Nugget.

However, considering Winter’s optimistic timeline, one of two scenarios would seem logical.

Golden Nugget is potentially considering either taking over a mobile-only registration once it’s available or has another market access deal in the pipeline. If no news emerges regarding the former in the coming months, it’s likely the latter is the case.

Play Illinois attempted to contact a member of Golden Nugget for a comment.

Having access to the sports betting industry through the imaginary Danville casino by the end of 2021 is presently an unrealized hope. The third and most unfavorable situation is the lack of knowledge about the Illinois landscape.

Mayor & lsquo, fervently praying for game development in Danville

Earlier this month, Danville Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. expressed his hope, saying he is “praying and keeping (his) fingers crossed,” for more information about the city’s casino to be available in July.

The IGB will hold meetings on June 9 and July 14, during which they typically provide updates on the casino.

As stated earlier, there has been a lack of news in the past two years. The IGB deemed Hard Rock Casino Rockford “preliminarily suitable” for a license in February. However, the official license, a byproduct of its 2019 Illinois gaming expansion, has not been issued yet.

Indeed, numerous applicants who submitted their applications much earlier than Danville are yet to receive a response. Therefore, it seems unlikely that we will be learning about game development in Danville from the IGB in the near future.

Wayne Parry / AP image
Boozell, Joe Avatar
authored by

Boozell, Joe

Since 2015, Joe Boozell has worked as a college sports writer for He has also had his work featured in Bleacher Report,, and As a youth, Boozell competed in the Chicagoland basketball scene, even facing off against Anthony Davis and Frank Kaminsky. You can probably guess how those games turned out.

View all posts by Boozell, Joe