Last Updated on July 10, 2020


In June 2019, sports betting was legalized in Illinois after Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a gaming bill into law. Nine months later, Illinois will offer its first legal sports bet. On Monday, March 9th at noon CT, BetRivers Sportsbook at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines will accept legal wagers for the first time on sports. Illinois will become the 15th state to offer and take legal sports betting in the US, and it will be just in time for March Madness.

Senior Vice President of Rivers Casino, Corey Wise exclaims:

“The BetRivers Sportsbook will take March Madness out of the office pool and into an exciting, elevated live sports wagering experience. 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.”

This is terrific news not only for the state of Illinois and bettors, but for BetRivers Casino to offer the first bets in a new state.


Rivers Casino Des Plaines To Take First Legal Bets

As reported by ABC7 Chicago, Monday March 9th is the day. The first bets will be placed in Illinois at BetRivers SportsBar in Rivers Casino Des Plaines. Back in late 2019, Rivers Casino announced the sports bar and its plans. There is a 5,000-square foot space with nearly 50 feet of video walls, 14 big-screen televisions, 32-seat bar and more. The BetRivers SportsBar is a mammoth, and it will be the host of the first legal sports bet in the state of Illinois.

The first bet “ceremony” will feature former Chicago hockey player Eddie Olczyk, Rivers Casino CEO John Carlin, and Rush Street Interactive Gaming Chairman Neil Bluhm. Expect a bet on an Illinois professional team, as bettors are not allowed to place bets on games involving in-state college teams, and coverage of the upcoming NCAA tournament which will be a very popular betting market in the state. BetRivers Illinois will have a massive advantage being the first in the state to offer, so expect them to take advantage.


When is Mobile Betting Coming to Illinois?

Mobile sports betting is live in the state of Indiana, so many Illinois residents travel across the border to wager. This will be fixed once mobile sports betting is live in Illinois. When will online sports betting begin in Illinois?

From our Illinois Sports Betting page:

It will take some time before mobile betting is active in the Land of Lincoln, but once live there are some provisions that need to be conveyed. Keep in mind, these are only in effect for the first 18 months after sports betting is launched.

  • Bettors will need to register in-person with a licensed sportsbook before betting online. This will not last forever, but at first it will be essential.
  • You will need to visit the closest casino or racetrack to verify your identity and such.

This is important:

Individual online-casino operators will only be able to enter the market in the first 18 months if they partner with a casino in Illinois (BetRivers and Rivers Casino Des Plaines). If they choose not to, they will need to wait 18 months. If the operator chooses to enter within 18 months, it is required to operate under the brand name of the casino. This means FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Illinois Sportsbook, and some others have a difficult decision to make. Do they wait 18 months for their own brand? Time will tell. This will be essential for competitors to get a leg up, as 18 months is a long time to acquire as many customers as they can, before the larger media companies enter the state.

For more information on Illinois Sports Betting, click here.



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