BREAKING: One New Sportsbook Is Coming To Illinois, And You’ve Probably Never Heard Of It

Written By Joe Boozell on April 28, 2022

Illinois’ Caliente Interactive, also known as & ldquo, Caliplay, is likely to launch a new online sportsbook. But, Illinois sports bettors might be dissatisfied that there won’t be any more in the near future.

The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) announced at a Thursday meeting that Caliente was selected as the exclusive recipient of an online-only license. Caliente, a controller based in Mexico, is not currently operational in the US. Illinois would be its second active state.

This crucial step, while not equivalent to the final licensing, could suggest that Caliente might relocate to Illinois next month.

Only three certificates were obtainable online. Fubo Sportsbook’s application was declined by the IGB, and an unidentified applicant withdrew their application mid-process. The remaining two certificates are still active, as confirmed by IGB Administrator Marcus Fruchter, who will share more details later.

The inclusion of Caliente should soon bring the total number of online sportsbooks in IL to eight. Despite regularly competing for the second highest sports betting handle in the US every month, Illinois has had fewer options compared to other states.

Despite its growth, the amount is still relatively minor. Here is our current knowledge about Caliente, predominantly unknown in the US.

Caliente is the top sportsbook in Mexico.

Caliente Interactive identifies itself as a leading provider of online gaming and sports betting in Mexico.

It operates off-track gambling and betting businesses in countries such as Mexico, Austria, Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, and the Caribbean.

Caliente, a subsidiary of Grupo Caliente founded in 1916 in Tiajuana, provides this self-description on Linkedin:

Caliplay, also known as Caliente Interactive, is a leading entity in the regulated Mexican online casino and sports betting industry. The company operates several websites offering a range of online gaming services including casino games, sports betting, slots, live games, and mobile betting. Caliplay prioritizes marketing and user experience. It is associated with the Caliente company, which has a history dating back to 1916 and has expanded to various Mexican states and numerous Central and South American countries. Caliplay is committed to promoting responsible gambling practices.

How did we arrive around?

Initially, the grant of an online-only license was intended to prompt the elimination of in-person sports betting registration.

However, the rules did not unfold as planned. Initially, there was meant to be an 18-month period of in-person membership when sports betting was first introduced in Illinois in March 2020. Ultimately, the IGB could issue licenses exclusively for online use, allowing everyone to register online.

COVID-19 happened unavoidably. As a result, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker decided to suspend the in-person registration requirement for approximately seven weeks. This allowed companies like FanDuel and DraftKings to offer sports betting by partnering with gambling institutions. Once virtual registration became available, they were able to dominate the market in Illinois.

This past fall, the Illinois legislature voted to establish a definitive end date for in-person registration, which is March 5.

The significance of a new casino entering a substantial market cannot be overlooked, even if the news doesn’t carry the same weight as it might under different circumstances. It will be fascinating to watch how Caliente fares in the booming industry of Illinois.

Boozell, Joe Avatar
authored by

Boozell, Joe

Joe Boozell has been a college sports writer for since 2015, and his work has been featured on Bleacher Report,, and In his youth, Boozell played basketball against Anthony Davis and Frank Kaminsky in the Chicagoland region, and as you can imagine, those games were quite challenging.

View all posts by Boozell, Joe