Rivers Casino Launches Illinois’ First Retail Sports Betting Arena

Rivers Casino Launches Illinois’ First Retail Sports Betting Arena

The Rivers Casino in Des Plaines has become the first retail sportsbook in the state of Illinois, putting an end to months of issues and uncertainties regarding the state’s legalized sports betting market.

Illinois will have a share in March Madness

The first bet at this historic moment was put down by Blackhawks announcer Eddie Olyczyk. He voted in favor of his hometown team White Sox winning the American League with 16-to-1 odds. With this wager, the state has officially ended its 8-month long ordeal of getting its legalized sports betting market on track. The state has been suffering because of gambling dollar loss, with punters moving to the neighboring state of Indiana since September 2019.

Rivers Casino Launches Illinois’ First Retail Sports Betting Arena

With the launch of Rivers Casino’s sports betting offering, Illinois is far behind its peers in legalizing the market. Note that four other casinos in the state can start offering retail sports bets but none of them have given a defined deadline for the same. Only the Argosy Casino Alton near St. Louis is looking at a March 16 launch, just in time for March Madness.

Together, Argosy and Rivers will be the only two sportsbooks in the states offering bets on NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament that begins on March 17. The recently signed law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker bans betting on all home teams. Illinois has 10 existing casinos that will be eligible to open sportsbooks alongside three racetracks. The United Center and Wrigley Field are two large stadiums that can also open retail betting offers.

Where is Illinois headed?

Even though the state is taking unsteady steps into the sports betting world, the analyst expects the market to flourish. According to industry estimates, Illinois sports betting industry could leave Nevada behind and bring in $5 to $10 billion in the betting handle. Gov. Pritzker’s office is hopeful that a strong betting market, taxed at 15%, will help bring in $60 million to the state annually. Cook County casinos will have to pay a 17% tax. Interestingly, the governor couldn’t make it to the sportsbook opening ceremony as he and his administration are busy handling the coronavirus outbreak.

However, retail sportsbooks are just the beginning. Illinois’ real potential will be unleashed will mobile betting. Indiana has already handled over $500 million in mobile bets in just 5 months and Illinois is well-positioned to tackle their numbers. However, the state will have to wait for 18 months before DraftKings, FanDuel and other online/mobile sports betting services launch.

About sherlock

Sherlock Gomes loves to write and express his views on anything related to Gaming, Gambling, & Casino. He has been covering Gaming for more than two years now.