Spanish soccer gets early betting action at Des Plaines casino's new online sportsbook
Ordinarily this time of year, sports bettors might be laying down wagers on the NBA playoffs or Major League Baseball, but in the coronavirus era, Spanish domestic soccer is getting most of the action.
That was the case on the first day of legal online sports betting in Illinois on Thursday, June 18, when 56% of all bets on Rivers Casino's new online and mobile sportsbook BetRivers.com were on La Liga, according to officials at the Des Plaines casino.
The match between league powerhouses Real Madrid and Valencia caught bettors' eyes in particular, with half of all bets placed on Real Madrid to win (and they did).
The first legal online wager in state history was made by a man in Geneva, only 11 minutes after the 10 a.m. launch. He placed four $20 bets on the finishing positions of four golfers in the PGA Tour's RBC Heritage tournament.
Throughout the weekend, bets on soccer, golf and UFC remained strong, officials said.
Rivers was allowed to launch its online wagering service earlier than expected, under an executive order by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The order temporarily removed an in-person registration requirement in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdown of all state casinos.
Rivers was the first Illinois gambling house to open its bricks-and-mortar sportsbook in March, until it closed less than a week later at the onset of the pandemic. State officials have not yet announced when casinos will reopen.