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Illinois Sports Betting

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Sports betting in Illinois

The first retail Illinois sports betting establishment opened on March 9 at the Rivers Casino Des Plaines, operated by Rush Street Gaming who also runs the online sports betting sites PlaySugarHouse and BetRivers. A few more casinos were in the process of launching their retail sportsbooks but due to the corona pandemic, this has been halted.

When can we expect online sports betting in Illinois? We presume that sometime in 2020 online Illinois sports betting will become a reality. Possible first movers in the Land of Lincoln are BetRivers, Caesars and Hollywood. One thing is sure, online sports betting in Illinois will happen!



FAQ

Is sports betting legal in Illinois?

Yes, sports betting is legal in the state of Illinois thanks to the Sports Wagering Act (230 ILCS 45). Anyone over 21 years of age can visit a local casino and gamble.

Is online sports betting legal in Illinois?

Yes, online sports betting in Illinois is legal, although no online sportsbook is currently live in the Land of Lincoln. Online sports betting is assumed to go live sometime in 2020.

Where can I place a sports bet in Illinois?

Rivers Casino Des Plaines is currently the only retail sportsbook open in the state of Illinois. A few more sportsbooks are in the process of launching sports betting operations.

What is the gambling age in Illinois?

To gamble (sports betting, poker, casino, horse racing) you need be 21 years of age or older.

Sports Betting Apps and Sites in Illinois

At the moment there are only retail sportsbooks in Illinois but Illinois sports betting online is just around the corner and will happen sometime in 2020.

To operate a legal sportsbook in the state of Illinois you need to be approved by the Illinois Gaming Board. Casinos, racetracks and larger sports venues (with stadium seating capacity over 17.000) can apply for a sports betting license in Illinois. These Brick-and-mortar operations have to pay a $10 million license fee for master sports betting license which gives the licensee the right to operate both retail and online sports betting.

Brick-and-mortar operations will be given a 18 month advantage before online-only brands such as DraftKings and FanDuel will be able to apply and enter the market. The license cost for a online-only operation will be double, $20 million.

The hefty entry cost for both local casinos, racetracks and sports venues and online-only operators will keep the number of sports betting venues limited to a few larger operations

These online sports betting apps and sites are likely to at some point go live in Illinois:

Illinois Sports Betting Apps and Sites
CaesarsDraftKingsBet365
BetRiversFanDuelWilliam Hill
888sportBetMGMFox Bet

Who Can Sports Bet in Illinois

Age limit: For all types of gambling in Illinois you need to be 21 years of older.

Location requirements: Currently you are only able to gamble in physical landbased casinos and racetracks but with online sports betting in Illinois you will be able to place sports wagers anywhere inside the state borders through apps and online.

Illinois online sportsbooks will have to ring-fence traffic using GEO-location traffic to make sure you are physically present within the state borders when wagering on sports.

Sports Betting in Illinois as a Resident

You can place sports bets from desktop, mobile, mobile apps and/or in the land based casinos.

Sports Betting in Illinois as a Non-Resident

As long as you are physically present in the state you can place bets with your sports betting apps or online.


How to Identify a licensed Illinois Sportsbook

To offer legal sports betting in Illinois you need to be licensed by Illinois Gaming Board.

To make sure the site you want to wager with is licensed, legal and regulated you can control the following:

  • Pick a sportsbook listed on USsportsbonus. We only list and promote licensed US sportsbooks.
  • Check the footer menu of the sportsbook you are visiting and look for a the “Licensed by Illinois Gaming Board” message. There should also be a link to their website.
  • Check the country code suffix of the URL. Licensed sportsbook will always have the .com suffix. Any site ending with for example .lv, .bg, or .eu will not be a licensed sportsbook and should be avoided at all times.

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About Illinois sports gambling

Although Illinois was the trailblazer in the sanctioning of internet lotto games, it has been slow in the process of authorizing sports betting. Nonetheless, punters all over the United States revere it, given that the state has in the past actively allowed its residents to participate in riverboat betting and Horse-betting. Illinois is indeed a paradise for gamblers. The state is also one of the states that started massive plans to legalize online Illinois sports betting, following the reap of the federal ban in 2018.

Pundits predicted that by the close of September 2019, Illinois would have legalized sports betting and in particular, online gaming. True to their predictions, Illinois passed a bill that authorized both online sports betting and sportsbook in the spring of 2019.

Even as this goes on, it will be of interest to us to re-examine the history of gambling in Illinois.

The legal history of gambling in Illinois

Way back in the 19th century, riverboat casinos were all over the rivers in Illinois. These casinos offered stud poker games and were unregulated. With the 20th century came the state-sanctioned Horse race betting. This regulation was also the first time that the state generated income from the gambling sector. The state, having sampled a piece of the revenue pie, did not look back. Instead, it went on to establish premier state lotteries in 1974 and pari-mutuel gambling. Presently, interstate and intrastate lotteries fetch millions of tax dollars in revenue for the state.

In 1991, the passing of regulations paved the way for the provision of legal gambling. This provision saw riverboat casinos make a comeback with the restriction that they stayed confined to the rivers. The state disallowed riverboat casinos on any lakes. However, matters were more liberalized in 2011, with the state assembly’s passing a new law which provided for casinos housed in physical buildings. The 2011 law also increased the number of games offered on the race tracks.

Further legislation saw the introduction of even more gambling units at bars and truck stops, which became the new trend in the state. This development was, however, not without hurdles, as the new legislation often faced legal battles and constant amendments. Nonetheless, a new dawn has emerged for gambling in the prairie state. Even though it took a while for issues to be smoothened out and for the gambling machines to secure their legitimacy.

As with other states, online Illinois sports betting only became a viable concept in May 2018, following the repeal of the 1992 PASPA by the SCOTUS. The state, having gained momentum in that field through the sale of online lottery tickets, now branching into and pursuing internet gaming and sports betting as well.

Luckily for the Illinois residents, the state is a liberal one, meaning its occupants are always at liberty to generally enjoy gambling as a pastime. All the same, pundits predict the firm and permanent establishment of the Illinois sports betting sector by early 2020.

Types of legal betting in Illinois

Sports Betting

Sports betting exists only in the form of pari-mutuel gambling offered at designated Horse racing tracks. However, following the legalization of online sports betting and online gaming through mobile betting platforms, its is expected that residents of Illinois will start enjoying legal sports betting starting 2020.

Online Sports Betting

Following the end of proscription by the SCOTUS in May 2018, legislators all around the nation were on a scramble to pass laws legitimizing and regulating gambling operations. This scramble was particularly with regards to sports and online gambling. Online and mobile betting, however, remain hugely unexplored avenues, but it is highly hoped that come early 2020, the same will have come to fruition.

Land-based Casino Gambling

Live casino games are available on the riverboat casinos, following the legalization of casino gambling. Although this legalization was hard to come by,  in 1999, the state through its revenue department sanctioned charitable casino games. Incidentally though, even after the 2011 approval of building physical brick and mortar casinos, the state has no land-based casinos.

Live Poker

The law has adopted a relaxed attitude towards social poker, as no penalties seem to be in the offing against one who plays it. The riverboat casinos host live poker games, where there are even tournaments for the die-hard fanatics.

Other forms of betting

Additional types of lawful gambling include raffle bingo games, charity bingo games, online state lottery as well as what are popularly known as charity casino nights which came to the fore in 2001


Illinois Gambling Statistics

No. of Commercial Gambling Facilities:Age RequirementsCasino Regulatory Body:Lottery National Rankings:Approx. Annual Gambling RevenueApprox. Annual Gambling Taxes:
Number of riverboat casinos: 10

Off Track Betting: 1

Retail Sportsbooks: 1

Horse Race Tracks: 5
Minimum age required: 21Illinois Gambling Board12th$2.7 billion$25 million

Prospects

Liberal legislation has paved the way for a wide array of gambling activities and even opened up legislators’ minds to the potential offered by sports betting. Given the latest raft of gambling statutes, robust recreational gambling is in the offing as well. This development is undoubtedly good news for the residents of Illinois who should brace themselves for even better times ahead!

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