Westgate SuperBook plans to enter Illinois market in 2023

Westgate SuperBook plans to enter Illinois market in 2023

LAS VEGAS — The Westgate SuperBook has expanded its footprint across the country, in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, New Jersey and Tennessee, but they’ve taken cautious steps.

And Illinois, according to SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay, is right in SuperBook’s playbook.

“I can tell you that it is in our plans to operate in the great state of Illinois,” he said. “The timing is always in question, but it’s certainly in our plans.”

Next up is Ohio, the 33rd US jurisdiction with legalized sports betting that will connect the two coasts, which Kornegay plans to operate in January.

Four more states will likely sport SuperBooks in 2023, and The Land of Lincoln is somewhere on that timeline.

Kornegay and his team explored the country with caution, as paying exorbitant fees and/or heavy taxes goes against the SuperBook’s game plan.

“I don’t know how profitable you are that way,” Kor-negay said. “For us, being kind of a mid-major in this area, it has to make sense. This is what we have done so far, which has worked for us.


The expansion isn’t just about buying a bunch of hardware and software for new hires that the -SuperBook hopes can be trusted, turned on the lights, and hung an Open sign.

“It’s definitely not a point-and-click thing,” Kornegay said with a laugh. “No way.”

Both he and Lt. John Murray cite third-party vendors, who coordinate the many moving parts, at the top of their lists of expansion challenges.

Ohio, for example, requires a security guard to be present 24 hours a day at the gate or entrance of a bookmaker, and that guard must scan the identification cards of everyone who enters the area.

These customers must be 21 years old, but the system is connected to an Ohio database to ensure that customers have no outstanding warrants, gambling bans or blacklisted entries, among other red flags.

Such security is not required in Nevada, just an aspect in which business is conducted differently elsewhere.

“It’s always new for us and it can be difficult,” Kornegay said. “We are happy with what we have done so far and what we have seen.”


Thanksgiving presented another challenge when SuperBook customers in New Jersey dumped money on the Giants, while its Nevada customers dumped money on the Cowboys.

The company’s Las Vegas risk room at Westgate produces all SuperBook odds and lines, thanks to the insight of Ed Salmons and Jeff Sherman, Kornegay and Murray odds.

Murray, the property’s executive racing and athletic director, said they aim to maintain even odds everywhere, but the Cowboys-Giants represented a special circumstance.

“We had a very good liability on the New Jersey Giants and a great liability on the Nevada Cowboys,” he said, “so it didn’t make sense to offer the same price in the two different states. “

Murray said it nearly evened in the wash as the Cowboys won 28-20 but failed to cover as 10-point favorites.

“So we had two different numbers in the two different states, just based on how the bets came in.”

What will eventually land in Illinois is a SuperBook that hands out numbers on every NFL game in May and provides lines of anticipation. In week 11, for example, it offers week 12 numbers.

“And we released the first NFL lines of the week [in Vegas] on a seasonal basis for a long time,” Kornegay said. “We have the punters and the team to do it, and it has worked for us over the decades.

“You can only do that if you have full confidence in your team, posting these numbers. If you don’t have that kind of experience and knowledge, you can burn yourself out a bit. But we are very comfortable posting the first lines.


Illinois aficionados of the beautiful game will love the SuperBook. Under Sherman’s leadership, it has long had the most extensive menu and variety of football games in town.

In its other five states, those menus have more than doubled, according to Sherman, due to the abundance of SuperBook offerings.

“Overall, if it wasn’t in pencil, we wouldn’t be doing it,” Murray said. “It’s taking shape. Yes, the football menu we have in IGT States is amazing.

College sports are another matter. In Illinois, of course, Governor JB Pritzker signed an overhaul last fall that allowed betting on colleges in the state, but only in person and before a game — no gambling allowances, mobile or player accessories.

In Jersey, locals must travel to New York to bet on a Garden State College team; in the Empire State, residents must travel to Jersey to bet on a New York collegiate team.

Long Island handicapper Tom Barton shot Rutgers, against Notre Dame, and that total in New York for the first round of the NCAA Tournament before heading to Atlantic City for opening weekend in March. (Notre Dame won 89-87 in double overtime.)

“Do you really want to push consumers into illegal channels? said Kornegay. “That’s what they’re going to do, what the studies show. I asked them, what are you doing? Four out of five say, ‘Oh, I [still] bet on it. Just go back to my roots.

“Five to 10 years from now, I think most of us will be operating under the same regulations. Those that worked, we will keep them. Those who had to change will change.

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