PointsBet announced a 20-year partnership on Monday with Hawthorne Race Course, giving Illinois its first major sports betting partner since Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legal sports betting into law on June 28.
The agreement between PointsBet and Hawthorne includes the launch of a premium retail sportsbook operation, which will bring legalized sports betting to the Chicago area, several off-track betting establishments throughout the state and a PointsBet digital sports betting mobile app and website.
"PointsBet is ecstatic to partner with Hawthorne Race Course, an iconic venue that has been part of the fabric of the Chicago sports and entertainment scene since its inception in 1891," PointsBet U.S. CEO Johnny Aitken said. “Illinois sports fans are diehard in every sense of the word and we are elated to introduce them to our premium sportsbook and our innovative, bettor-first experience."
PointsBet and Hawthorne Race Course came out of the gate quickly after Illinois passed a $45 billion sports betting bill that legalizes sports wagering at casinos, race tracks and certain other venues. The bill passed with the intention of increasing the state’s tax revenue, to help restore the public roads and bridges as well as assist in the maintenance of public buildings.
Just days after Pritzker signed the bill into law, the PointsBet/Hawthorne partnership is hitting the ground running in the race to carve out its share of the newly created market.
"Gov. Pritzker and the Legislature have given us an historic opportunity to transform the Illinois racing industry with the addition of casino gaming and sports betting," Hawthorne Race Course president and general manager Tim Carey said. “It's an opportunity that we won't take lightly and that's exactly why we chose PointsBet as our partner. Our business has survived because we put players first, and PointsBet has proven they do as well. That is how we are going to succeed together."
Originally founded in Australia, PointsBet is a US sportsbook that launched stateside in January 2019. The company has enjoyed a rapid ascent this year, perhaps sparked by its unique offerings which include bettor-centric initiates like Good Karma Payouts, which the company says provides bettors relief in the event of unlikely circumstances that sway game outcomes.
PointsBet went public last month, offering 37.5 million shares at $2.00 per share during its Initial Public Offering.
Hawthorne Race Course was founded in 1891 and is the oldest sporting venue in Illinois. The family-owned and operated business hosts racing events on the outskirts of Chicago in Stickney/Cicero. The facility includes a traditional dirt racing course with the second-longest homestretch leg in the U.S.
Already among industry leaders, the two companies’ fast action in Illinois indicates the potential for both to enjoy continued growth and their combined forces should provide ample opportunities for them to become big players in the state’s burgeoning sports betting landscape.