BetRivers to take first legal bets in Illinois today

Sports wagering has finally launched in the state of Illinois.

Rivers Casino Des Plaines will be the first venue to take legal sports wagers in the state of Illinois after receiving approval from the Illinois Gaming Board.

The sportsbook, which is operated by Rush Street Gaming and located north of Chicago, will start taking sports wagers at noon today (9 March) after an initial opening ceremony at 10am.

The BetRivers sportsbook in Illinois

Once the BetRivers-branded sportsbook opens for business, it will the be first legal sports betting venue to take bets in the state of Illinois, just in time for the start of the NCAA’s March Madness tournament.

According to Rush Street’s announcement, the BetRivers Sportsbook will feature a 4,480 square foot sports bar, with a 47-foot-wide ultra HD LED video wall. The venue will have five betting windows and a total of 30 sportsbook kiosks. The sports betting lounge also houses ten 86-inch and 75-inch HD televisions which will show live sporting events.

Corey Wise, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Rivers Casino, said: “The BetRivers Sportsbook will take March Madness out of the office pool and into an exciting, elevated live sports wagering experience. We are grateful to the Illinois Gaming Board staff for their work approving our sportsbook in time for the college basketball tournament—one of the greatest sports events of the year.

Greg Carlin, CEO and co-founder of Rush Street Gaming, Rivers’ parent company, said: “Whether you are a seasoned sportsbook player or a casual sports fan interested in this new entertainment option, we’re dedicated to an environment where all customers will enjoy themselves in this great venue within our premier casino.”

BetRivers also plans to launch its sports betting website and mobile betting app later this year.

More companies to enter the market

The Illinois Gaming Board has also issued temporary operating permits to Argosy Casino Alton, Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin and Hollywood Casino in both Aurora and Joliet. The Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino in East Peoria has also applied for a permit to offer sports wagering.

Rush Street Interactive has also been given a temporary operating permit for management services. Both Betfair and Penn Sports have also applied for management services permits.

Sports Information Services and Novomatic have been granted temporary sports betting supplier licences and William Hill has also applied for one.

Sports betting in Illinois

In July 2019, Governor J.B Pritzker signed Illinois’ gambling expansion bill into law, making Illinois the fifth state to legalize sports betting in 2019. As well as legalizing sports betting, the bill allowed for the launch of six new land-based casinos and a large casino venue in Chicago.

Under the state’s sports betting laws wagering on collegiate sporting events that are held in the state will be prohibited. The sports leagues will also have the ability to place restrictions on certain types of bets in the state. The legislation also authorizes the roll-out of slot machines at various racetracks and the O’Hare and Midway airports.

In January, the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) published phase two of its sports betting rules and regulations.

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