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Illinois Launches First Sports Betting App, Has Livestreaming Feature

The Chicago Cubs mascot holding an iPhone and some cash

On Thursday at 10 AM, Illinois officially released their first online sportsbook for use on personal computers and mobile devices while inside the state’s borders.

The Rivers Casino in Des Plains, IL, has teamed up with the gaming technology group Rush Street Interactive to create their new mobile sportsbook, BetRivers.

This new domestic online betting app is debuting just in time, right before most professional leagues are planning to return to courts, rinks, and fields across the nation.

“We are excited to make history in bringing the first online sportsbook to sports fans in our home state just in time as American sports are coming back into action.”

 – Richard Schwartz, president of Rush Street Interactive

Of the sports that are currently active, BetRivers is offering betting lines on international soccer, PGA Tour Golf, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), NASCAR, and Australian Rules Football.

The mobile sportsbook app will also offer betting lines on NFL Football, NCAA football, NHL hockey, NBA basketball, NCAA basketball, Major League Baseball (MLB), Formula 1 Racing, darts, cricket, and rugby. BetRivers already has futures betting odds on many of the sports that have yet to begin (or return to) play.

The betting site – per the mandates of the Federal Wire Act of 1961 – requires that users be located within the borders of Illinois, and the service allows for wagers to be made on popular sports from laptops, PCs, and mobile devices such as iPads, iPhones, and Android-based smartphones and tablets.

iPhone users can simply enter the URL of the BetRivers website into their mobile browser and place a wager. There are plans to release a downloadable app for iOS, but for now, all betting operations on Apple devices will be browser-based.

Android users are required to download the BetRivers application, which is available from the BetRivers website now.

The minimum age to place a wager on the BetRivers app is 21 years old. Fortunately, bettors between 18 and 20 still have the option to wager online using an offshore sportsbook until they reach BetRivers’ minimum age requirement.

For now, no in-person registration will be required to join the online sportsbook. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a temporary suspension on that legal requirement because of current COVID-19 regulations making the prospect difficult for many bettors.

After all, Illinois’ casinos are still shuttered until the coronavirus contagion can be contained, making this sports betting app crucial to many in the region.

The Illinois state government passed legislation allowing for legal sports betting because it intends to use the proceeds to increase the state’s tax intake, scraping sports betting revenue to the tune of 15%, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Projections for IL sportsbooks’ annual profits have ranged from $400 million to nearly $700 million on an annual handle of over $5 billion, 15% of which would represent a pretty large chunk of change for the state – somewhere in the neighborhood of $50-$100 million.

Much like offshore sportsbooks, BetRivers is also offering welcome bonus cash to new members that matches 100% of their first deposit for up to $250.

An uncommon feature that BetRivers sportsbook offers is the ability to watch the games that are wagered upon via a live stream. There has been no declaration from the sportsbook regarding a list of sports that will be shown via their app, though we suspect that a lack of major licensing deals from the biggest sports will preclude those broadcasts from the platform.

For the time being, the only streaming sport offered on the app is international soccer matches from Belarus and Russia, as well as Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) games.

Illinois’ new app offers a great kickstart to mobile sports betting in the region and is sure to be the first of many to hit the market. They’ve put their best foot forward in offering a unique betting experience that has set the bar high for future competitors.

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