Rush Street’s Rivers Des Plaines has taken an early lead in the Illinois sports betting market, with figures from the state’s Gaming Board revealing that it accounted for the vast majority of amounts wagered between March and July.
The Illinois Gaming Board revealed that players wagered $61.8m since 9 March, when Rivers Des Plaines took the first legal bets in the state via its Kambi-powered sportsbook. Penn National’s Argosy Casino Alton riverboat casino was the only other property to begin accepting wagers during that month.
The market’s development was slowed by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, however, which meant that all casinos shut from 16 March.
With online betting not launching until 18 June – again, with Rivers and Kambi the first to go live – no bets could be placed from 16 March until that date.
While the Gaming Board only released handle figures for each month of legal wagering, these are broken down into professional and collegiate sports, and then by the two tiers of legal bets. Tier one bets, which accounted for the vast majority of stakes, are win-lose propositions, while tier two wagers are bets determined by in-game events, such as player performance.
In March, customers staked $754,739 across Rivers Des Plaines and Argosy Casino in the week to 16 March. After no legal bets were placed between 16 March and 18 June, Rivers customers wagered $8.3m via the operator’s new online sportsbook before the end of the month, the only legal offering available during that period.
Amounts wagered then soared in July, with handle jumping to $52.5m at a time when the state’s casinos reopened and professional sports around the world returned. However, during this period Rivers Des Plaines and Argosy Casino remained the only licensees to accept wagers.