About three months ago, Rivers Casino was the first retail sportsbook to accept a legal wager in Illinois. At 10 a.m. CT on Thursday, June 18, BetRivers claimed another first when it became the first online sportsbook to take legal bets in the state.
Following regulatory approval and an assist from IL Gov. JB Pritzker’s office, Illinois residents and visitors can start placing bets online today. One of the circumstances will be temporary, however.
BetRivers ready to take bets online in Illinois
Earlier this month, Pritzker suspended the state’s in-person registration requirement for sports betting apps. That move undoubtedly opened the door for BetRivers to move into IL much faster.
Because of Pritzker’s executive order, Illinoisans can conduct all their business with BetRivers completely online. That’s everything from account registration and deposits to placing wagers and cashing out winnings.
This is crucial because, while the Illinois Gaming Board has released protocols for casinos and racetracks to reopen in the state, that doesn’t include a timeline. It’s still uncertain when gaming facilities in IL will open their doors again.
Had Pritzker not issued his order, there would currently be no options for Illinoisans to legally wager on sporting events. The other pivotal factor in the situation is BetRivers’ work to get to market. There is some pertinent information for IL bettors.
How to bet on BetRivers IL
Illinoisans can access BetRivers from anywhere in the state via desktop, on Android, or Apple mobile devices by simply visiting BetRivers.com. Android users must go to the same BetRivers.com website to download the new IL app to wager on their mobile devices. Users who have downloaded BetRivers’ Android apps in other states will still need to download the specific IL app.
Apple users can register and bet using the browsers on their mobile devices. Like other states, in order to access the site on your iPhone browser you need to download a third-party app called GeoGuard from GeoComply. The app quickly syncs with the Rivers website to allow for browser-based betting.
BetRivers expects to launch its iOS app for IL soon.
BetRivers is offering a one-time deposit matching bonus of $250 to all new IL users.
IL bettors can use that bonus to place online wagers on a myriad of events. However, the convenience of online registration may only exist for a limited time in IL.
The in-person registration requirement may return
Pritzker’s order does not repeal IL’s in-person registration requirement. It merely temporarily bars the state from enforcing that part of the law. Also, the order only stays in effect as long as Pritzker’s coronavirus restrictions stay in place.
Naturally, Rivers Casino in Des Plaines should be open again by that time. At that point, it will be possible for Illinoisans to complete their registrations at the retail sportsbook again. It’s possible that circumstances could spell the death knell of this mandate.
The in-person requirement lifts when the IGB issues the first of three standalone, online-only sportsbook operator licenses. IL law requires the board to wait 540 days after retail books started taking wagers to issue that license.
The clock on that time period started running on April 9, when Rivers opened its retail sportsbook. So, in theory, if Pritzker’s order outlasts that window and the IGB issues an online-only license, Illinoisans will never have to actually abide by the in-person mandate.
Whether that situation actually takes place depends heavily on the pandemic in IL. The decline of COVID-19 in the state would be a great thing, even if it would mean the in-person registration requirement returning.