Sports Betting Launches in Illinois

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:

The Rivers Casino sportsbook opened today in Des Plaines, Illinois with Blackhawks announcer Eddie Olczyk laying down $100 on his hometown White Sox to win the American League pennant at 16-to-1 odds.

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It's been eight long months since the state legalized sports betting.  Rivers Casino, which began construction on a sportsbook three months ago, received first approval to launch and didn't waste any time.  Additional casinos and a Downstate racetrack have also applied.  Two companies that won't be joining the party are Draftkings and FanDuel.  Both are prohibited from entering the Illinois market for the first two years.

The Argosy Casino Alton near St. Louis will be next to launch on March 16 just in time for March Madness.  Betting will be prohibited on state schools and games that feature them.  This means no betting on the Fighting Illini, a team destined to play in this year's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

From the Chicago Sun Times:

Industry analysts are bullish, estimating the yearly statewide handle could eventually smash $5 billion and even surpass $10 billion, potentially topping the Nevada industry.

With a 15% tax rate on gross sportsbook revenue, Pritzker’s office anticipates the industry eventually will inject about $60 million into state coffers each year. The tax rate goes up to 17% for Rivers and any other casinos that might open in Cook County — including the potential Chicago mega-casino so coveted by Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Mobile in-state betting is anticipated in the late spring or summer, most likely ahead of the 2020 College Football and NFL seasons. 

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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