Illinois sports betting begins
Industry Updates

Illinois Sports Betting Begins Monday, March 9th

Update: Sports betting has officially begun in Illinois. Rivers Casino in Des Plaines accepted the state’s first-ever legal sports wager at noon.

Illinois sports betting has set a tentative launch date: Monday, March 9th.

BetRivers Sportsbook at Rivers Casino Des Plaines announced on Friday that it plans to launch at noon on Monday, pending final regulatory approval:

Former Chicago Blackhawks center Eddie Olcyzk will be on hand to place the state’s first ever legal sports wager in a ceremony at BetRivers Sportsbook on Monday.

In follow-up replies to the announcement on Twitter, Rivers Casino said it plans to launch mobile betting at BetRivers.com “later this year.”

The BetRivers Sportsbook venue occupies nearly 5,000 square feet and features stadium seating, a 47-foot HD LED video wall and a 26-seat bar with tabletop video poker.

Patrons can place wagers at one of five betting windows inside the sportsbooks or through 30 self-serve kiosks located throughout the casino.

BetRivers Launches Just in Time for March Madness 2020

The launch of the first IL sportsbook comes just in time for March Madness 2020, the largest betting event of the year.

“The BetRivers Sportsbook will take March Madness out of the office pool and into an exciting, elevated live sports wagering experience,” said BetRivers General Manager Corey Wise on Friday.

The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) issued a handful of temporary sports wagering licenses earlier this year. BetRivers Sportsbook is the only one that has been given the necessary provisionary approval to launch but will likely be joined by others in the near future.

The current list of casinos with temporary sports betting operating permits includes:

IL Sports Betting Launch FAQs

For the most part, sports fans 21 and older can walk into any licensed sportsbook and place wagers with little issue. State law requires operators to have staff on hand, to conspicuously publish all house rules and to provide guides to customers explaining how the various types of wagers work.

How old do I have to bet to place a bet in Illinois?

All patrons must be 21 or older to bet on sports in Illinois. It is prohibited place wagers on behalf of another person who is for any reason prohibited from wagering.

Which sports can I bet on?

The IL sports betting law allows wagers on professional sports, collegiate sports and motorsports.

IL law prohibits wagers on minor league events and collegiate games involving teams from Illinois.

Can I bet on Illinois college teams?

No. Pre-game and in-play wagers on any game involving an Illinois collegiate team are prohibited.

Customers may still place wagers on other games not involving Illinois teams and on tournaments as a whole (such as the outcome of March Madness) as long as wagers are not placed specifically on Illinois college teams.

When does mobile betting begin?

Neither the IGB nor any of the state’s sportsbook operators have given a firm timeline for the launch of mobile betting.

It will be at least 18 months before the first mobile-only operators can launch in Illinois, but local casinos may offer mobile betting in the meantime after they receive the approval of the IGB.

In-person registration will be required for the first 18 months of mobile sports betting in Illinois. This means customers will need to visit the casino in-person to register an account. This provision will end after the first mobile-only license is issued.

Does Illinois have any responsible gambling programs in place?

Yes. Those who have questions or feel they or a loved one may have a gambling problem can receive assistance from the Illinois Council on Problem Gambling (ICPG) or visit the National Council on Problem Gambling Illinois page for information about additional resources.

Additionally, gamblers can sign up for self-exclusion to ban themselves from all IL casinos. Anyone on the self-exclusion list will also be prevented from participating in sports wagering.

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