Today will be a historic day in the Prairie State. It’s when BetRivers Illinois Sportsbook in Des Plaines will accept the state’s first legal wager on sports.
Although it may not be alone for long, the Rivers Casino book will be the only legal place to bet in the Land of Lincoln come Monday. The timing is great, but there are some things Illinoisans should know.
What to know about the BetRivers Illinois sportsbook
The sportsbook plans to open for business at noon today. The casino will host a ceremony earlier that morning, set for 10 a.m.
“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, in a press release. “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.”
“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.
It’s important to note that this launch will be for the brick-and-mortar sportsbook only. That shouldn’t mean a long wait to place a wager, however.
In addition to five betting windows, there will be 30 kiosks throughout the casino for sports wagering. The aesthetic will draw you back to the sportsbook area.
The sportsbook offers a 47-foot-wide ultra-HD LED video wall inside a 4,840-square-foot sports bar. In addition to the video wall, there are 10 86-inch viewing screens and four 75-inch screens in different parts of the bar.
The full-service bar seats up to 32 and there are also 29 leather lounge chairs. There are table seating options, which include 26 bar-top video poker games.
Rivers was one of three facilities to receive an initial wave of sports betting licenses. It’s the only one to announce when it will go live so far. The other two may not be far behind.
When might other sportsbooks go live in IL?
The other two facilities that have already received licenses are the Argosy in Alton and the Grand Victoria in Elgin. Those two casinos could launch retail books soon.
They are likely just waiting to finish up preparations and get final approval from the Illinois Gaming Bureau. Once that’s done, they will announce opening dates.
It’s uncertain right now when the first online sportsbooks will go live in IL. Rivers says it plans to launch that component later this year but hasn’t indicated any kind of a timeline.
For the time being, legal wagering in IL will probably be restricted to retail operations. Regardless, it’s a big deal that any legal wagering is available.
Today will be a historic day in the state. All bettors who travel to Des Plaines can take part in that history.