sports betting

Sports Betting in Illinois Begins Monday

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Sports betting in Illinois started Monday - just in time for March Madness.

Rivers Casino in northwest suburban Des Plaines became the first to open its sportsbook at 10 a.m. CST. Blackhawks great Eddie Olczyk placed the state's first wager, putting $100 on the White Sox to win the American League pennant at 16-to-1 odds.

Sports betting was legalized in Illinois by a law signed last June, after which multiple casinos applied for licenses.

Rivers Casino was the first in the state to get approval from the Illinois Gaming Board. The casino has already built a sportsbook area called "BetRivers," a 4,840 square foot sports bar with five betting windows, 30 sportsbook kiosks and a video wall that measures 47 feet wide.

Rivers said the area also has 10 86-inch and four 75-inch HD televisions, as well as a full-service bar that seats 32 people and has 26 bar-top video poker games.

Online betting isn't available yet, so gamblers will have go to into Rivers to participate.

State officials project sports betting could generate state tax revenues between $58 and $102 million each year.

Rivers' sportsbetting facility opens to the public at 12 p.m.

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