Benson mentioned that the operator would offer bettors a sportsbook experience comparable to approximately 80-85 percent of what it has at Circa in Las Vegas. He highlighted the immediate offerings through their app and physical location.
“We think it’s going to be a real game-changer for those folks in the Midwest. We think it is certainly going to drive a ton of business for us,” Benson said.
Previously, the Illinois Gaming Board issued a sports wagering provider license to the Las Vegas gambling operator. The company is now working to get approval for its software licensing.
Benson has revealed the plan to kick off operations in August, conveniently aligning with the start of the 2023 NFL season. Its retail sportsbook will be at The Temporary by American Place Casino in Waukegan.
Bringing something new to Illinois
With its arrival in the Prairie State, Circa will become the eighth authorized online sportsbook in Illinois. Illinois marks the latest state where Circa is available, following its successful ventures in Nevada, Colorado, and Iowa.
The company emphasizes its commitment to excellent customer service, assuring bettors won’t face restrictions or limitations on their winnings.
“Anything that we put on our board, you’re going to get a fair bet. For us, we don’t think a fair bet is $2.37. We think a fair bet is to win a healthy, healthy amount.”
Circa Sportsbook promises a unique offering that sets it apart from existing competitors in the Illinois market, with a lower percentage hold and a welcoming environment for large bets.
Benson emphasized the importance of staying true to themselves, maintaining an organic approach, and prioritizing the aspects they believe are crucial to resonate with their customers.
Circa aims to provide a straightforward and convenient betting experience for individuals, specifically targeting those who may be either limited or banned from the other legalized Prairie State betting shops.
Circa becomes Prairie State’s eighth licensed online sportsbook
Illinois was one of the states which fully accepted sports betting. On June 2, 2019, the Senate passed a bill with a significant majority, granting permission for sports betting to be accessible to all eligible Illinois residents through both online platforms and retail locations.
In March, Illinois generated a sports betting handle of $1.07 billion, placing it second among all U.S. states with legal sports betting. Ninety-seven percent of the bets were made through online platforms.
While Circa aims to expand its betting portfolio, it doesn’t intend to directly challenge the established leaders in the state’s sports betting market.
“I don’t think we’re ever going to be in the category of a FanDuel or DraftKings in the sense of how deep our menu is going to be,” Benson said.
FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM currently dominate the regulated Illinois sports betting market, accounting for over 75 percent of the market share.
Circa is currently positioned in the middle of the pack in other markets such as Iowa and Colorado, and that won’t likely change due to the stark contrast in bookmaking styles.
Circa Sports founder and CEO Derek Stevens has no concerns about the level of competition in the Illinois sports betting market. The company already has 19 competitors in Colorado, 30 in Iowa, and nearly 200 in Nevada. Looking at the numbers, seven competitors can be considered a small amount.
“One sportsbook model may be great for a certain type of customer and another model might be better for a very different kind of customer,” Stevens said.
Stevens also said there is much room to grow in the Illinois market, which has been “very robust.”