Rivers Casino's sportsbook takes Illinois' first legal sports wager

Monday 9th March 2020

As of Monday, gamblers in Illinois can legally gamble at a sportsbook. BetRivers Sportsbook at the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines took the first wager. The state passed legislation to legalize sports betting in June 2019.

According to a press release from PlayIllinois.com, the state could generate between $9 and $11 billion in wagers on an annual basis. In addition, Illinois could generate $650 million in gross revenue.

"Illinois' potential is enormous, but it has a long way to go to become a major player relative to the largest markets in the U.S.," PlayIllinois.com lead analyst Dustin Gouker said. "Launching the industry is obviously a momentous first step. But because of regulatory roadblocks to online sports betting, it will be years before Illinois can enjoy the same kind of boom that we've seen in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Indiana."

The state is expected to introduce sportsbooks at Argosy Casino Alton, Hollywood Casino Aurora, Hollywood Casino Joliet, Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin and Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino in East Peoria soon. Collinsville-based Fairmont Park Racetrack has also been approved for a temporary operating permit for a sportsbook.

The majority of the sportsbooks are expected to be live prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament later this month. They will accept physical wagers at their locations, but online sports betting may not launch until later in 2020.

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