Illinois Is One Of The First States Where You Can Bet On Jai-Alai, Thanks To BetRivers

Written By Joe Boozell on October 1, 2021 - Last Updated on October 5, 2021

In Illinois and Iowa, it is now possible to bet on jai-alai at BetRivers Sportsbook.

Rush Street Interactive (RSI), the parent company of BetRivers, announced the news in a recent press release. Branded as “the fastest sport in the world,” jai-alai — pronounced hy-uh-ly — is now being played in a head-to-head format.

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How to bet on jai-alai in Illinois

The deal makes RSI the exclusive sports betting partner of Magic City Jai-Alai. Therefore, RSI gets Magic City Jai-Alai’s exclusive league data. Bettors will also be able to stream matches live and wager on them at BetRivers Sportsbook.

 

Richard Schwartz, the RSI CEO, said of the deal:

“The league’s commitment to integrity and fair play impressed us from the outset. At the end of the day, RSI wants to offer our players engaging and high integrity betting content and we’re thrilled that Magic City’s league is able to achieve both of these goals.”

RSI will eventually offer jai-alai betting in more states, but Illinois and Iowa are the first.

Schwartz added:

“RSI is excited to partner with Magic City Jai-Alai to pioneer this new fast-paced format of play for Jai-Alai, a sport which has long been a betting favorite and has a storied history in Florida dating back to the 1930s.

“As a result of these modern H2H matches transitioning away from the traditional parimutuel style of play into a brand new fixed-odds betting format where every action-packed point matters, customers can wager directly on the head-to-head matchups, set-by-set or even point-by-point just like in the popular betting sports of tennis and table tennis.

“Jai-Alai is the fastest sport in the world, with ball speeds exceeding 150 mph, and with this new electrifying format, we are really excited to offer bettors a unique way to watch in real-time and bet in-play on a sport we know they will love.”

A revival for jai-alai?

Obviously, betting gives the public a reason to care more about a particular sport. Magic City COO Scott Savin believes that the sport will see a “major resurgence.”

Savin also said:

“Working closely with the RSI team, we are excited to pioneer a new twist on an old favorite and offer fans exciting and different ways to engage with Jai-Alai while modernizing the sport to a whole new digital betting audience. From day one we’ve made it our mission to create an innovative and modern-looking league where the integrity of the game and its athletes have been our focus to earn and retain our bettors’ trust.”

Jai-alai has been around since the 14th century. Specifically, Magic City Jai-Alai has run more than 4,000 matches since beginning in 2018.

In the US, jai-alai is currently most popular in Florida.

BetRivers’ status in Illinois

RSI’s headquarters are in Chicago, and BetRivers is one of the biggest sportsbooks in Illinois.

It currently ranks third on a monthly basis in sports betting handle and revenue. DraftKings and FanDuel in Illinois are the market leaders.

BetRivers is the official sports betting partner of the Chicago Bears, and it has the most popular retail sportsbook in the Land of Lincoln at Rivers Casino.

Now, it is adding a niche sport that could attract a different kind of customer.

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Joe Boozell

Joe Boozell has also been a college sports writer for NCAA.com since 2015. His work has also appeared in Bleacher Report, FoxSports.com and NBA.com. Growing up, Boozell squared off against both Anthony Davis and Frank Kaminsky in the Chicagoland basketball scene ... you can imagine how that went.

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