The attempt of the state of Illinois to bring in more players to its online sports betting market may fail as the last of four applicants could be dropping out of the license application process.
Tekkorp Digital Remains the Only Bidder for Online-Only Sports Wagering Licenses in Illinois
The Chicago Tribune reported that the Illinois Gaming Board started the application process for new online-only licenses for sportsbooks in December 2021. A total of four companies applied for three available licenses with a considerable fee of $20 million. It must be noted that physical venues that offer sports betting pay licensing fees, which are half of this amount.
Eventually, three of the bidders dropped out or were disqualified from the process and the only one remaining is Tekkorp Digital Acquisition Corp.
The application process has been quite unfortunate. First, the application by Malta-based Tipico was rejected as it was submitted after the deadline.
Then, Digital Gaming, which is a company registered in Florida, drew back its bid without pointing to any particular reason.
Lastly, Fubo Gaming, which is a subsidiary of the streaming platform FuboTV, was disqualified from the application process.
As per information from the Illinois Gaming Board, a key member of the company’s staff has been found guilty on charges of dishonesty or moral turpitude, which is against the rules and has led to the disqualification of Fubo Gaming.
In response, the company has stated that it has already been granted licenses in other US states and that it disagrees with the decision of the Illinois Gaming Board.
Tekkorp Digital’s Application Also Surrounded by Uncertainties
Tekkorp Digital is a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) based out of Las Vegas. It is currently in the process of acquiring a Mexican sports betting operator called Caliente Interactive.
However, the finalization of the acquisition is still very uncertain as it is subject to a vote by Tekkorp Digital’s shareholders, which will take place on October 13.
In case the company’s shareholders vote against the acquisition of Caliente Interactive, Tekkorp Digital will back out of the deal and, consequently, out of the license application process.
This turn of events would lead to a closure of the licensing procedure by the Illinois Gaming Board, which has announced that it may be opening a new bidding cycle if the current one fails to award any licenses.
In addition to all these concerns, a non-profit organization called Stop Predatory Gambling has sent a letter to the Illinois Gaming Board pointing to the fact that Caliente Interactive is the subsidiary of Grupo Caliente, whose owner is Jorge Hank Rhon.
In the letter, the NGO reminds the Board that Rhon has been allegedly involved in various criminal activities such as money laundering and drug dealing. It also urges the Board not to proceed with the licensing of Tekkorp Digital.