Rivers Casino, BetRivers Ink Deal With ‘Hometown’ Chicago Bears

Written By Joe Boozell on June 22, 2021
bears rivers deal

The Chicago Bears have signed a multi-year exclusive deal with Rush Street Interactive (RSI) to make Rivers Casino their exclusive casino and sports betting partner.

Rivers Casino in Des Plaines will also join forces with the Bears.

PointsBet became the first official Bears betting partner, but BetRivers is now the exclusive partner.

Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips said:

“We are incredibly excited to announce BetRivers and Rivers Casino as our first multi-year exclusive partner in the sportsbook and casino categories. We look forward to connecting with our fans in fun and unique ways through these avenues and couldn’t be prouder to be building this relationship with a hometown company.”

Rivers Casino will receive in-stadium signage to go along with digital, social and print assets as a result of the partnership. BetRivers Sportsbook will also serve as the title partner of the team’s free-to-play game on the official Bears app.

The deal will also include collaborative promotions and exclusive Bears prizes.

 Neil Bluhm, the executive chairman of RSI, said of the deal:

“As a lifelong Bears fan, I am thrilled to have BetRivers and Rivers Casino partner with our hometown NFL team, the Chicago Bears, as the organization’s only Official Sportsbook and Casino Partner. We look forward to expanding our relationship with the Bears and their dedicated fan base, and offering innovative products and promotions as we remain committed to delivering a first-rate customer experience. This partnership also reinforces our commitment to hometown teams in states where we have our online and land-based sportsbooks.”

Of course, the Bears have been in the news lately for other off-the-field developments.

Bears attempt to buy Arlington International

Last week, the Bears announced they submitted an offer to buy Arlington International Racecourse. Churchill Downs put the track up for sale earlier in the year.

The revelation confirmed buzz that the Bears are open to moving out of Soldier Field. The team could build a modern mega-stadium in Arlington Heights, opening up a new array of business opportunities.

One interesting nugget with this deal: Churchill Downs owns a majority stake in Rivers Casino. That may have no impact on the Arlington sale, but it’s an interesting tie nonetheless.

If the Bears move to Arlington Heights, a retail sportsbook could do big numbers. We thought that could be good news for PointsBet, but now, it looks like BetRivers would run it if it ever comes to fruition.

Churchill Downs will ultimately control the Arlington sale. The Bears are a potential buyer, and Churchill Downs and the Bears are now partners, albeit indirectly.

Make of that what you will.

BetRivers’ place in the Illinois market

In the infancy stage of Illinois sports betting, BetRivers was the market leader. It was the first operator to launch an online sportsbook in the Land of Lincoln.

Since then, it has slipped behind FanDuel and DraftKings for handle and revenue on a monthly basis. Still, it’s the No. 3 sportsbook by those metrics in a state that just registered the second-highest handle in the US in April.

Even if BetRivers is looking up at DraftKings and FanDuel in Illinois, that’s still a nice spot to be in. BetRivers has a cushy lead for third over Barstool and PointsBet.

The in-person registration requirement could help BetRivers bridge the gap, but we didn’t see evidence of that in April. Rivers is the most popular casino in Illinois, located just outside of Chicago.

With Justin Fields in the fold, there is newfound excitement around the Bears. Rivers just might be getting in at a good time.

Photo by Nam Y. Huh / AP
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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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