While there are a lot of negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, one small silver lining in Illinois is that bettors have access to online wagering on an accelerated timeline. Over the first few days of the operation of BetRivers Illinois, Illinoisans took advantage of the app’s soccer markets.
While the RBC Heritage was the most popular single event over the weekend, most of the action on the only sports betting app taking bets in the Prairie State was on European men’s club soccer matches.
Breaking down the primary action at BetRivers Illinois
BetRivers started taking online wagers in Illinois at 10 a.m. local time last Thursday. According to the sportsbook’s operator, Rush Street Interactive, soccer was Illinoisans’ sport of choice over the weekend.
A full 37% of bets placed on the app or website in Illinois was on soccer. The percentage of Illinois handle at BetRivers on soccer over the weekend was even larger, coming in at 43%.
The return of the English Premier League, which initiated “Project Restart” last Wednesday, played a role in those percentages. As a matter of fact, 7% of handle was on Liverpool to draw or win its match against Everton on Sunday.
That wasn’t the single-most wagered event of the weekend, however. The sport of golf had a respectable showing with action on the RBC Heritage.
Bets on the RBC Heritage accounted for 22% of handle and 36% of wagers at BetRivers in the state. UFC wagering also played a part in making the first weekend in Illinois a successful one for BetRivers.
Another 29% of wagers came down on UFC bouts last weekend. Over half of that handle came from bets on Blaydes v. Volkov.
While these events may have pitched in to make BetRivers’ launch a solid one, others may soon take their places. That’s still somewhat of a fluid situation, however.
The tentative but hopeful return of other North American sports
The transition from June to July promises to bring with it some of the most popular team sports in North America. That will start this Saturday with the NWSL’s Challenge Cup.
MLB, MLS, the NBA, the NFL, the NHL, and the WNBA all have plans to hold some team activities or competitions in July as well. Whether that happens and to what extent depends on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leagues have given athletes options on whether to participate in games this year. So far, several NWSL and WNBA players have exercised those options.
In addition, these events are subject to local and state authorities’ restrictions. Provided such circumstances don’t result in further delays, Illinoisans should have markets available on these events in the coming weeks.
The ability to bet on such events may become more complicated than it is right now, however. That’s because of Illinois gaming law as it pertains to online sports wagering.
The status quo in IL is a temporary one
Right now, Illinoisans can conduct all their business with BetRivers completely online. That’s only because of Gov. JB Pritzker’s latest executive order regarding gambling.
Pritzker’s order suspended Illinois’ in-person registration requirement for sports betting apps. That was a crucial move because casinos in Illinois remain closed with no official date for reopening.
The order only stays in effect as long as other emergency restrictions on activity in the state remain in place, however. When Pritzker revokes that order, the in-person registration requirement returns.
For the time being, however, Illinois residents and visitors are enjoying betting on European soccer and registering accounts online. BetRivers is happy to provide those experiences as long as the status quo remains.