Rivers Des Plaines Readies To Be One Of Illinois’ First Sportsbooks

Posted on February 3, 2020 - Last Updated on February 4, 2020

Rush Street Gaming will be getting in on the action when sports betting finally rolls out in Illinois.

The Chicago-based company is actively hiring sportsbook writers and ambassadors at its Rivers Casino Des Plaines location. The company is hosting a job fair on Feb. 11 with the hopes of putting a staff together.

Illinois legalized sports betting throughout the state last summer. Indiana managed to do the same.

However, the Hoosier State was quick to get the ball rolling after legalization. Illinois is still at the early stages of setting up its infrastructure and licensing sportsbooks.

But that seems to be changing soon, with the Illinois Gaming Board recently approving three casinos to finally get things underway. Des Plaines, Argosy Casino Alton, and Grand Victoria Casino will be the first to accept sports bets in the state.

The trio hopes to be up and running in time for March Madness.

Rush Street is looking to get Des Plaines up to speed as soon as possible, and hiring sportsbook workers is a necessary part of that process.

Rush Street has another sports betting head start

Along with DraftKings, Rush Street’s sportsbook BetRivers was one of the first to open online for business in Indiana. That gave BetRivers early access to Indiana’s market.

The company will have that same advantage in Illinois. However, that advantage will be limited to retail betting and online betting only for customers who register in-person at an Illinois sportsbooks.

BetRivers has a chance to establish online dominance

Initially, BetRivers was only competing with DraftKings and FanDuel for online customers after their Indiana launch. That changed in only a handful of months.

BetAmerica is already online in the Hoosier State, with more sportsbooks entering the fray soon.

Since BetRivers is already operating in other states it could be fairly easy to bring online in Illinois as well. Rush Street will have to adapt the Illinois version of the sportsbook to fit the state’s specific rules, but the framework for the site is still in place.

With BetRivers’ early access, the sportsbook is in position to carve out a nice chunk of the state’s online handle for itself. However, Illinois’ in-person registration requirement could limit those potential online numbers.

If residents nearby the border aren’t willing to make the trek in order to register for an online sportsbook in person, it may continue to push them towards taking a quick trip over the state line to place their online wagers.

That’s a good thing for Indiana, but it may present a challenge for Illinois sportsbooks while betting there is still in its infancy.

Rivers Casino Des Plaines’ Chicago

Des Plaines’ proximity to downtown Chicago could be a key factor in the casino’s sports betting success.

The location could be a big boost for its retail handle. Operating next to such a big city provides a large pool of potential customers already living nearby.

Des Plaines may also be able to pull in customers that have been hopping across the border to visit Horseshoe Hammond and Ameristar Casino in Indiana.

Both are located practically on top of the border between the two states, and the duo generated a combined retail handle of over $20 million in December.

That’s a number that will likely take a hit once sports betting is available in Illinois, as some bettors flock to closer locations such as Des Plaines.

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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in Midwest sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza is currently working as a Managing Editor for PlayIndiana and PlayOhio, with previous stops at other well-known brands such as PlayIllinois and PlayMichigan. He has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.

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