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Volume 27 No. 30
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Australia-Based PointsBet USA Expanding Reach With Bears Deal

PointsBet USA will raise its profile in the hotly-contested, emerging Illinois market as the first operator to announce a sponsorship with the Bears. The Australia-based sportsbook gets the use of Bears marks and logos as well as advertising on the team website. The deal does not include a retail component, a quirk of the Illinois sports betting framework that allows Chicago’s major pro teams to develop a sportsbook at or near their venue. Financial terms were not disclosed. The Bears deal raises PointsBet’s profile in the largest U.S. market in which sports betting is legal. The operator gained access in Illinois through a deal with Hawthorne Race Course in nearby Cicero. That deal also lets it operate at three Chicagoland off-track betting sites. A recent deal that has NBCUniversal taking a 4.99% equity stake in PointsBet means the brand also will get integration into RSN SportsNet Chicago programming. PointsBet also has signed former NFLer Devin Hester as a spokesperson.

EXPANDING OPERATIONS: PointsBet operates in Illinois, New Jersey, Indiana and Iowa and is expected to roll out soon in Colorado, as well as in Michigan, which has not yet opened online wagering. It previously announced sponsorship deals with the Tigers and Univ. of Colorado athletics. Illinois -- the most-watched sports betting state in the country -- rolled out with a framework that has made this an especially crucial span for sportsbooks. The state initially required users to sign up for accounts in person. The state has relaxed that position in light of the pandemic, with Gov. J.B. Pritzker earlier this week extending the online registration option through Oct. 17. That extension has allowed online sportsbooks that would have been at a disadvantage in Chicago, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, to make a run at area bettors. If Pritzker eventually reinstates in-person registration, Chicago bettors will have to drive to Peoria to register to bet with FanDuel, or east St. Louis to sign up with DraftKings, which recently signed on as exclusive sportsbook sponsor of the Cubs, with rights to develop a sportsbook adjacent to Wrigley Field. But that is not likely to open before '22.