Eddie Olczyk Places First Illinois Sports Bet At BetRivers

Eddie Olczyk Places First Illinois Sports Bet At BetRivers

Native son and Blackhawks favorite Eddie Olczyk placed the first legal sports bet in Illinois on Monday: $100 on the Chicago White Sox to win the American League pennant at 16-to-1.

While customers filed into the BetRivers Sportsbook at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines to make their own selections or lounge in front of a wall of television screens, the clock began officially ticking until they would be able to place mobile or online bets anywhere in the sports-crazed state.

Corey Wise, senior vice president and general manager of Rivers Casino, doesn’t expect them to wait too long.

“We hope to have that later this spring,” he told Gambling.com. “We do have right now, however, a pre-registration process to be ready for that. So, today we launched our retail and now have started pre-registering for people for when that mobile app goes live.”


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Illinois law requires bettors to register in person for the next 18 months.

But Monday represented a solid first step in a process that began well before sports betting became legal in Illinois last June. After missing the NFL season, launching ahead of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament was crucial.

“We targeted making sure that we were open for March Madness,” Wise said. “I think it’s even ideal because we get another week and a half prior to the opening round of the NCAA tournament. We get the big championship weekend here with all the basketball games happening, but beyond that it’s Major League Baseball, NBA, NHL.

“We have a great offering beyond just the Big Four. So, we're very excited to offer that.”

Sportsbook Will Provide Something for Every Sports Fan

The sportsbook features all the amenities one would expect from an upscale sports pub including a 4,840 square foot bar facing a 47-foot-wide ultra HD LED video wall. There are 10 additional 86-inch HD TVs and four 75-inch HD TVs and 26 video poker games to enjoy while sitting at the bar.

Greg Carlin, CEO and co-founder of Rush Street Gaming, Rivers’ parent company, said that the bar will have a little something for everyone regardless of their level of sports betting experience.

“Whether you are a seasoned sportsbook player or a casual sports fan interested in this new entertainment option, we’re dedicated to an environment where all customers will enjoy themselves in this great venue within our premier casino.”

Fans were able to place a bet at any of the five windows with live cashiers or head over to one of 30 total betting kiosks. An island bar offered seating for up to 32 people, while an additional 29 lounge chairs provided even more availability and comfort.

Mobile Option Still On The Way

Backed by the expertise of its co-parent company, Churchill Downs Incorporated, Rivers will launch an official sports betting website and mobile betting app later this year. It was expected that land-based betting would get a head start over mobile options.

Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen said the app will only bolster the Des Plaines location as a true hub of wagering activity in Illinois.

“BetRivers Sportsbook meets the high bar established by the team at Rivers Casino Des Plaines as one of the most successful and unique regional gaming destinations in the country. We’re excited to add this top-flight amenity to what is already a premier destination.”

Since Illinois legalized betting last June this day has been eagerly awaited, so being able to place bets Monday had many Chicago area fans abuzz with excitement.

Reporter Trey Killian contributed to this article.

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