After a long wait, Illinois residents will finally be able to start placing legal sports bets in their home state. The BetRivers Sportsbook at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines will open its doors today. BetRivers will be the first legal sportsbook in Illinois to accept bets.
BetRiver Sportsbook will officially open its doors today at noon following a two-hour ceremony that will be starting at 10:00 AM local time. Former Chicago Blackhawks player and current TV analyst Eddie Olczyk will be attending the ceremony and will place the state’s first legal bet.
After missing previous launch goals in the past, Illinois finally lived up to its most recent one by having sports betting available before the start of March Madness. Illinois made the cut by a week as March Madness will begin next Tuesday on the 17th. However, betting on some Illinois collegiate teams will not be permitted under the current law.
The BetRivers Sportsbook will feature a nearly 5,000 square-foot sports bar with a 47-foot video wall. The sportsbook will feature five betting windows and up to 30 betting kiosks. BetRivers is expected to launch its online sportsbook, BetRivers.com, and its mobile app sometime later this year.
Illinois is now the 15th state to officially launch legal sports betting. BetRivers Sportsbook will be the first in the state to open for betting but others are expected to join as early as this week. So far, six Illinois casinos have applied for licensing.
Experts are predicting Illinois to generate between $380 and $680 million per year in adjusted gross revenue. With the 15% tax rate, that would generate between $57 and $102 million in annual tax revenue. Revenue from the gambling expansion bill will be earmarked towards the $45 billion construction plan across the state.
Aside from BetRivers, the only other casino that has announced an exact launch date is the Argosy Casino Alton which will open on March 16th, one day before the start of March Madness.