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The first Chicago-area sportsbook is finding a way to use the internet despite the delayed launch of mobile Illinois sports betting.
Rush Street‘s BetRivers Sportsbook took the first legal sports bet in the Land of Lincoln on Monday at Rivers Des Plaines.
The state is expected to launch mobile Illinois sports betting at some point this year. Illinois is one of the few states that requires in-person registration to complete the mobile sign up.
BetRivers, powered by Kambi, is doing its best to mitigate those hurdles.
BetRivers is taking advantage of its first-mover status by giving all customers the option to preregister for an online account.
The preregistration is as an option through Rush Street’s Rush Rewards players’ club. Bettors can indicate in their account that they are interested in online IL sports betting.
That satisfies the need to verify a bettor’s identity on-site, Corey Wise, Rivers’ general manager, said. It could also help keep some Illinois players from permanently migrating, as Chicagoans have fed a lot of handle to Indiana sports betting over the past few months.
The sportsbook saw a steady stream of customers after the noon opening, Wise said.
With March Madness right around the corner, BetRivers is sure to see long lines at its 30 kiosks and five tellers.
Wise said Kambi’s BetBuilder service is a “great offering” in the interim before mobile can go live. BetBuilder lets bettors build a ticket on their device and then scan a QR code once they get to a teller or kiosk to place the bet.
“It really speeds up the transaction,” Wise said.
There was some disappointment on social media as pictures of BetRivers’ board started to appear.
More than a few sides were listed at -113 or -114. The typical industry-standard vig is -110.
Wise said there’s no set standard to have those odds higher than -110 and noted there were plenty of other games with odds lower than that -110 benchmark.
“You’re going to see odds that are not just the strict -110 that you might see because we won’t necessarily move the line on somebody but slightly tweak the payout odds,” he said.