Illinois Officially Launches Mobile Sports Betting

Jun 18, 2020 17:06Joe Tarzaiski
Illinois Mobile Sports Betting

It has been close to a year since Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the law introducing the legalization of the sports betting to the state of Illinois. Gamblers within the state can now place bets from their cellphones after the Thursday morning launch of the state’s first online sportsbook.

Rush Street Interactive Involvement in the Launch

Rivers Casino in Des Plaines was first to show initiative to this law with its BetRivers mobile betting app through their partner Rush Street Interactive.

Rush Street Interactive president Richard Schwartz stated:

“We are excited to make history in bringing the first online sportsbook to sports fans in our home state just in time as American sports are coming back into action.”

The launch of the online platform gives billionaire Rivers chairman Neil Bluhm first dibs on the Illinois online sports betting market, which holds the majority of the handle in other states that have already made the industry legal.

Who Else is Involved and How Will This Work?

Bluhm made sure that Illinois’ gambling law was written to give a head start to casinos rather than losing business to online-only corporations such as DraftKings and FanDuel. Those companies are locked out for 18 months before they become eligible for bidding for a license.

Six other casinos were granted sports betting licenses by the Illinois Gaming Board last week in addition to Rivers. Each can request approval from the agency’s administrator to start offering online wagering. A Gaming Board spokesperson stated no other requests have been submitted as of Thursday morning.

State law had required bettors to register in person at a casino before they could place bets online, but Pritzker issued an executive order earlier this month due to COVID-19 temporarily removing that requirement. He is eager for any potential revenue from sports gambling after the pandemic caused close to a $2.7 billion loss in the state budget.

Illinois bettors can now register for a betting account online in a matter of minutes rather than going through the registration at a land-based casino location.

The Gaming Board is evaluating applications and will most likely begin issuing licenses in the fall. A potential Chicago casino is in the discussion as well, but it looks to be an expensive amount of time before that becomes a reality.

The Illinois market has been analyzed and projected to rival the revenue of Nevada, with a yearly handle of over $5 billion. Once American sports return from the Coronavirus suspension, this will become a huge deal for the state, industry, and the sports betting community.

Joe Tarzaiski
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Joe Tarzaiski began his sports writing career in 2004 in the Philadelphia market, analyzing and handicapping professional sports, college sports, poker and various table games. He currently reports on the increased efforts on the legalization and continual growth of sports betting throughout the United States. A Philadelphia University alum, Joe is dedicated to following current trends in both the gaming community and daily news throughout the sports world.
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