On Monday, Illinois will become the 15th state in the US to allow sports betting when a suburban Chicago casino opens its sportsbook.
The BetRivers Sportsbook will open Monday at noon CT at the Rivers Des Plaines Casino. The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) issued a temporary operating permit to the casino, located near O’Hare International Airport and about 15 miles from downtown Chicago.
The retail sportsbook will take up nearly 5,000 square feet of space at the casino and feature a 47-foot wide high definition LED video wall. Besides the wall, the sportsbook will include 10 86-inch and 4 75-inch televisions. It also will feature a full-service bar and video poker.
Besides the five windows with ticket writers, the sportsbook also will offer 30 self-service kiosks.
“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,” said Greg Carlin, CEO and co-founder of Rush Street Gaming, Rivers’ parent company.
Chicago-based Rush Street owns a minority stake in the casino. Churchill Downs Inc. purchased a majority share in Rivers Des Plaines in November 2018.
Despite Churchill’s status, the casino will use Rush Street’s sportsbook brand instead of its own BetAmerica.
“BetRivers Sportsbook meets the high bar established by the team at Rivers Casino Des Plaines as one of the most successful and unique regional gaming destinations in the country,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Inc.
Ready to Jump Into Hoops
Sports betting’s arrival in Illinois will coincide with the start of college basketball’s postseason. Rush Street officials are optimistic they’ll see a strong start at their sportsbook, even though the Illinois state law that legalized sports betting banned wagers on in-state college teams.
The BetRivers Sportsbook will take March Madness out of the office pool and into an exciting, elevated live sports wagering experience,” said Corey Wise, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Rivers Casino. “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.”
In its release announcing the opening of the retail sportsbook, Rivers said it would start mobile sports betting later this year.
When Illinois launches, it will be the fifth state for Rush Street’s BetRivers sportsbook. The company also operates sportsbooks or mobile apps in Indiana, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Impact on Other States
In addition to Rivers, four other casinos have received temporary permits from the IGB, but they have not received approval to start offering sportsbooks. Two, the Argosy Casino in Alton, located near St. Louis, and the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, another Chicago suburb, received their permits on Jan. 31, the same date as Rivers.
The Hollywood Casinos in Aurora and Joliet, two other Chicagoland venues, received their permits on Feb. 27.
Some Illinois bettors have been going since last summer to Iowa and Indiana to make their wagers, when those states opened their first sportsbooks. With the first sportsbook opening in the Chicago area, it’s more likely Indiana’s retail sportsbooks and online apps will be affected by Rivers opening than Iowa, which is 160 miles away. The same will likely hold true when the other Chicago area casinos open their sportsbooks.
In fact, the two pending applicants that aren’t in the Chicago area are much closer to Missouri, which does not allow sports betting, than Iowa.
Two Indiana retail sportsbooks are within six miles of the Illinois border. Horseshoe Hammond, located less than two miles from the state line, reported a handle of $13.7 million for January, according to the Indiana Gaming Commission.
The Ameristar Casino in East Chicago took in $7 million in wagers for the month.