Illinois State Guide

The first retail Illinois sports betting establishment opened on March 9 at the Rivers Casino Des Plaines, operated by Rush Street Gaming, who also run the online sports betting sites PlaySugarHouse and BetRivers. A few more casinos have joined the train to launch their retail sportsbook in the state.

Is online betting now legal in Illinois? Yes, in the summer of 2020, online sports betting became legal in the state of Illinois. The real issue is that since April 4, 2021, after the expiration of the executive order by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, bettors are required to complete registration at retail sportsbooks.
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FAQ

  • Is sports betting legal in Illinois?

  • Is online sports betting legal in Illinois?

  • Where can I place a sports bet in Illinois?

  • What is the gambling age in Illinois?

  • How many sportsbooks are in Illinois?

  • What betting apps are legal in Illinois?

Sports Betting Apps and Sites in Illinois

At the moment, there are both online and retail sportsbooks in Illinois, but players are only allowed to register through retail sportsbooks.

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 a 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 an 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 an online-only operation is double, $20 million.

The hefty entry cost for local casinos, racetracks, sports venues, and online-only operators has kept the number of sports betting outlets limited to a few larger operations.

Illinois Sports Betting Apps and Sites  

With the sports betting bill passed, online sportsbooks now have the chance to accept players in Illinois. Even though there is a huge entry fee for online sports betting brands to meet the Illinois sports betting law requirement, some top brands have made their way to the state. Below are some that you can decide to join to start placing bets on your favorite sports, leagues, and teams.

Illinois Sports Betting Apps and Sites  
BetRiversFanDuelWilliam Hill
PointsBetDraftKings 

 

DraftKings

DraftKings Sportsbook Desktop, App, Tablet

If you are familiar with daily fantasy sports, you will be familiar with the DraftKings brand. However, DraftKings is one of the US's top sports and everyday fantasy sports brands, if you are entirely new. The sportsbook has been around for a while, and it has continued to serve players across the United States and other regions worldwide. As it stands, it is one of the early Illinois online sports betting sites that players can join. The interesting thing is that DraftKings sportsbook Illinois did not come empty-handed, as there is a lot to enjoy once you create an account on the site, from the welcome bonus offer to the risk-free bets that you get to enjoy from time to time. You can register an account on DraftKings at Casino Queen if you want to get started.

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BetRivers

BetRivers Sportsbook Mobile App, Tablet and Desktop

Another top sportsbook that is currently available to players in Illinois is BetRivers. BetRivers IL sportsbook has grown to become one of the most popular sports betting sites that you can decide to join. Similar to DraftKings, BetRiver provides players with attractive incentives and bonuses. The sportsbook is backed by the popular Illinois land-based casino, River Casino Des Plaines, which Rush Street Interactive manages. With that, you can be sure that BetRivers can easily enter into the Illinois sports betting market. If you want to bet on sports, you need to create an account and deposit money into it.

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FanDuel

FanDuel Sportsbook App Tablet Desktop

FanDuel sportsbook is another interesting sportsbook to provide betting on sports in Illinois. So, if you are already a member of FanDuel before moving to the state, you can proceed to start playing without the need to worry about registration and all the other processes. On the other hand, if you are new, you can register at the FanDuel retail sportsbook in Illinois. To make it better, the sportsbook partners with Par-A-Dice Casino, one of the major land-based casinos in the state. The partnership ensures that FanDuel will have no issues providing online sports wagering services to players in Illinois.

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William Hill

William Hill is one of the oldest names in the gambling world. The brand has been around for a long time, even before the advent of online gambling. It is no surprise that William Hill is one of the first sports betting brands to offer online sportsbooks in Illinois. The interesting thing is that there is already a retail William Hill sportsbook in Illinois, making it easy for the brand to provide online services to players in the state. You can visit the William Hill Sportsbook at Grand Victoria Casino to become a member. Once you do that, you can then go online to start placing bets on your favorite teams like the Chicago Bears.

PointsBet

Finally, PointsBet sportsbook Illinois is one of the pioneers to enter the Illinois sports betting market. Like the other sportsbook brands, PointsBet offers players a series of bonuses to sports bettors that join their site. Aside from that, the sports betting site provides a series of sports, leagues, daily matches, and other options. Without a doubt, this sportsbook is perfect for new players who are looking to master sports wagering. Interestingly, you can also find the retail Pointsbet sportsbook at the Hawthorne Race Course. So, you can visit the retail sportsbook to create an account to get started with playing at PointsBet online.

Who Can Sports Bet in Illinois

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

Location requirements: Currently, you can gamble at physical land-based casinos and racetracks, as well as online sports betting sites in Illinois, and you will be able to place sports wagers anywhere inside the state borders through betting apps and sportsbook sites.

Illinois online sportsbooks are required to ring-fence traffic using GEO-location traffic to make sure you are physically present within the state borders before you wager on sports.

Sports Betting in Illinois as a Resident

You can place sports bets from desktop, mobile, mobile apps, and in 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.

Getting Started at Sports Betting Sites in Illinois

To get started with placing bets on various sports teams, leagues, sports, and even players, you need to understand some of the steps involved. For a start, you need to select any of the licensed Illinois sportsbooks and select the one that best fits your profile. In that case, you need to know how to identify a licensed sportsbook in the state. In addition to identifying a licensed sports betting site, you should be able to look through the various brands and then narrow them down to the best. That way, you get to enjoy many goodies and exciting features as you continue to play. 

When you are done identifying and selecting the sportsbooks you want, the next phase is to become a member, which you can do at the retail sportsbook site. After that, you can deposit money into your account, claim the welcome bonus offers, and then proceed to place your first bets. Continue to read this section to find out more about getting started at a sports betting site in Illinois.

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:

1 Pick a sportsbook listed on USsportsbonus.

We only list and promote licensed US sportsbooks.

2 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.

3 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.

Depositing at a Sportsbook

If you already have an account and want to deposit, you do not need to worry too much. The reason is that the process is pretty easy because it is all about choosing the right banking method and providing the amount you would like to deposit. You just need to ensure that the money you want to deposit is available on your payment platform. Interestingly, many sportsbooks do not charge players any fees for depositing into their online gambling account. As a result, depending on the payment option you decide to use, you might only need to worry about the service provider's transaction fees. Therefore, we advise that before depositing money into your online sportsbook account, you must have selected a banking option that you fully trust and that suits you the most.

As long as you already have a banking option in mind, you can check to see if the sports betting site accepts payment using that payment service. If you are lucky and it is part of the accepted options, you can proceed to deposit money into your sports betting account for the first time. To do this, you should follow the list of steps we have below.

  1. Locate and click the deposit button
  2. Select the payment option you would like to use
  3. Enter the amount you want to deposit; ensure that it is at least the same amount as the minimum deposit accepted by the sports betting site
  4. Confirm your deposit
  5. Refresh the sports betting site

Unless there is an issue with your payment option or internet connection at the time, your account will be credited almost instantly when you confirm the payment on your site.

Withdrawing at a Sportsbook

To withdraw from most sportsbooks, the process is quite similar to when you want to deposit at a sports betting site. The main difference is that the processing time might not be as instant as when you deposit into your account. This is because most payment options have varying processing times, with e-wallet options proving to be the fastest among the bunch. In most cases, if you want to withdraw, you need to go to the cashier tab, where you will find the withdraw button. Once you click the button, you will be transferred to a payment page, where you will need to select a banking option.

In most cases, unless you have no other choice, you should always use the same banking method for depositing and withdrawal processes. That way, you can easily complete the transaction without having to go through numerous verifications every time you want to withdraw. Aside from that, some sportsbooks frown upon using varying payment methods. You also need to note that you might be charged a fee by your payment merchant when you withdraw.

Placing your First Bets at a Sports Betting Site in Illinois

With your account created and fully funded, you will want to proceed to place your first bet at your preferred Illinois sports betting site. However, before you move to place your bet, you should ensure that you have already claimed the welcome bonus the sports betting site is offering to new players. With the bonus, you have the chance to try your luck without the need to risk your real money the first time. If you are lucky, you can even build a bankroll with the bonus cash.

To place your bet, you need to keep a few things in mind. You should already know the sports, leagues, teams, and games you would like to bet on, for a start. For instance, you can choose basketball as the sport, and then the NBA, and finally, you can bet on Chicago Bulls and whomever they are playing against at the time. Additionally, you need to know what type of game you would like to place on the site. You have to choose either an accumulator bet, a single bet, or a parlay bet. Once that is sorted out, you can continue to place your first bet.

To do that, you should go to the sports section, select the sport you want to bet on, pick the game(s), enter your bet, and then confirm your chance. Once you complete that process, you have successfully placed your first bet at an Illinois sports betting site. The next phase is for you to wait to see if your predictions are correct, or whether you have to try again with a different strategy.

Gambling Locations in Illinois

When you visit Illinois, or you live in the state, and you want to participate in various gambling activities, there are different locations that you can decide to visit. Besides visiting the various land-based casinos like the Par-a-Dice Casino, you can choose to play at any of the retail sportsbooks available across the state. In addition to that, you can even play at top online sportsbooks that are available to players since online gambling is currently legal in the state of Illinois. This section has highlighted some of the top gambling locations that you can visit in Illinois.

Land-based Casinos in Illinois

One thing Illinois is not short of is physical casinos. As it stands, the state has up to 20 casinos that players can choose to visit. There are also more than 14,000 slots and gaming machines, various poker tables, and other gambling devices. Although there are many casino locations you can visit, some are more remarkable than others. For instance, Rivers Casino Des Plaines is the largest casino floor in the state, with its 147,000 square feet of gaming space. Aside from that, Hard Rock Casino Rockford and Southland Live Casino are the two biggest casinos in the state. They have 1500 gaming machines plus 55 table games and 1200 gaming machines together with 35 table games, respectively.

Other honorable mentions include the Grand Victoria Casino, Argosy Casino Alton, Hollywood Casino, Walker's Bluff Casino Resort, etc. Depending on your location, you can visit any casinos to start trying your luck at the casino tables or slot machines. Interestingly, some of these casinos are located in more than one place. Therefore, you get different options you can select from.

Retail and Online Sportsbooks in Illinois

Since the legalization of sports betting in Illinois, retail sportsbook sites have been coming across the state. Some land-based casinos have begun to partner with online sportsbook brands to provide retail sports betting so that these sportsbooks can get their sports betting licenses from the state. In addition to that, the retail sportsbook sites give players the chance to complete their in-person registration as required by the state's gambling law. Interestingly, you can find a host of retail sports betting sites at the different casino locations, of which we already mentioned that there are over 20 in Illinois.

One of the most famous locations is the DraftKings at Casino Queen in East St Louis. Aside from that, you can find a retail sportsbook at the Penn National Hollywood Casino or Rivers casino and many others. Once you already have an account at any of these sportsbooks, you can download the mobile sports betting app or simply visit the sportsbook site to get started. Interestingly, you will get to enjoy all the exciting things that come with playing at an online sportsbook.

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Other Gambling Sites in the State

Aside from the casinos and retail sportsbooks in the state, you will also find other interesting gambling sites, both physical and online. If you are a fan of daily fantasy sports, you can get into the action at the DraftKings sportsbook retail location or on the official website. Other than that, you will also find lottery terminals and bingo establishments. Since online lottery is not yet legalized in the state, you need to visit any virtual lottery terminal to purchase tickets. In addition to that, you need to understand that you are not permitted to play at any gambling establishment, whether online or offline, that is not licensed in the state. If caught, you can be charged with a misdemeanor.

Benefits of Betting Online in Illinois

If you are familiar with gambling, you will understand that there are a host of rewards to playing online and betting on games at online sportsbooks compared to land-based gambling sites. This is no different with online gambling in Illinois. Since there is an influx of online sportsbooks in Illinois, the fight for players' attention has increased, and they are looking for creative ways to ensure that players are attracted to them. Always make sure to use a promo code when signing up to get the correct bonus offer.

Most sports betting brands now offer many freebies, from welcome bonuses to free bets, cashback, etc. As a result, you will be eligible for a sign-up offer when you decide to join an online sportsbook. In this case, you might get a percentage of the amount of your first deposit. It does not even end there, as you can even get more sports betting bonuses as you continue to play at the sports betting site. Interestingly, it does not matter whether you are playing on the mobile sports betting app or website. You will be eligible for all the bonuses.

Sign-up Bonus

One of the most common bonuses you will get to enjoy when it comes to playing online is the sign-up bonus. This is a bonus that many sports betting sites offer to players who recently created an account on their site. The interesting part is that this bonus comes in different forms that vary from one sports betting site to another. 

So, before you begin, you can simply check to see the kind of welcome package the sportsbook is offering to players. In addition to that, you should go through the terms and conditions to know how to claim the bonus. Also, you should learn the kinds of requirements you need to meet before you can withdraw the cash from your bonus account. 

To find out more about the sign-up bonus at any sports betting site, you should contact the support team or check the FAQ sections.

Deposit Bonus

A deposit bonus is an offer that you get for funding your account at a betting site. This bonus can come in different forms, even as a sign-up bonus. So, when you make your first deposit at a sportsbook, you can receive a deposit bonus from the site. Aside from that, as you continue to play at the sportsbook, you might even get recurrent deposit bonuses from time to time. In most cases, the deposit bonus is a percentage of whatever you put into your account. 

So, if, for instance, you deposited $100, and the deposit bonus states that you will get 100% of your deposit up to $500, you will receive $100 in bonus cash. Therefore, you can continue to play with the bonus cash you just received. But similar to a sign-up bonus, you might have to meet some requirements before you can proceed to claim your wins.

No-Deposit Bonus

This kind of bonus is very similar to the deposit offer to claim at many sports betting sites. The main difference is that you are not required to deposit any money before you can claim the bonus. However, in some cases, you might have to enter a bonus code before you can claim the no-deposit prize, but some sportsbooks do not need you to provide a promo code. 

As a result, before you proceed to take a no-deposit offer, ensure that you check through the various instructions added to the bonus details. For more information, you can simply contact the sportsbook's support team to table your questions.

Reload Bonus

On the other hand, a reload bonus offer is an exclusive bonus given to only existing players, similar to the popular deposit offer. Many sports betting sites give players reload bonuses only on special days or holidays, but some regularly offer reload bonuses. 

In addition to that, you might even get special reload rewards if you are among the special players at the sports betting site. This special offer might come through an email from the site or as soon as you log into your sports betting account.

Cashback

Another exciting offer that many betting sites offer to players is the cashback offer. Sportsbooks offer this kind of bonus to players after they lose out on a certain amount of money. For example, if you wagered up to $100 and lost it all in the previous week, the betting site will give you a portion of the money back in bonus cash. 

The amount of money you receive in cashback usually varies from one sports betting site to another, and it can go from 20% up to 50%. However, you have to understand that there are different terms and conditions that you are required to fulfill before you are even able to receive the cashback amount. In that case, you have to go through the various instructions and requirements included in the cashback bonus before you proceed to claim the offer.

Interestingly, you can get to enjoy a host of incentives and rewards when you decide to play online. Some sports betting sites even provide players with the chance to win top prizes such as an all-expenses-paid vacation, houses, huge jackpots, cars, and many others. To take full advantage of this, we advise that you take the time to go through the sports betting site's promotions page before becoming a member and starting to place bets.

About Illinois sports gambling

Although Illinois was the trailblazer in the sanctioning of internet lotto games, it was 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 horserace 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 federal ban in 2018.

Many punters predicted that Illinois was going to pass the sports betting bill before the end of 2019 and interestingly, at the close of 2019, Illinois legalized sports betting and, online gambling in general.

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

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, Illinois residents are now able to wager on their favorite teams and sports.

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. Fortunately, Illinois has joined the list of states in the US to legalize online sports betting. It is now possible to place bets on sports, leagues, teams, and games.

Land-based Casino Gambling

Live casino games are available on the riverboat casinos following the legalization of casino gambling. However, this legalization was hard to come by; in 1999, the state-sanctioned charitable casino games through its revenue department. 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 those who play 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, and the online state lottery, as well as what is popularly known as charity casino nights which came to the fore in 2001.

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 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 that 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. However, this development was 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 smoothed 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. Having gained momentum in that field through the sale of online lottery tickets, the state is now branching into and pursuing internet gaming and sports betting.

Luckily for the Illinois residents, the state is a liberal one, meaning its occupants are always at liberty to enjoy gambling as a pastime generally. As a result, it came as no surprise when the state legalized sports betting, which allowed retail and online sportsbooks to obtain operate in the state.

 

Illinois Code for Gambling

With gambling now fully legal in Illinois and the sports betting law in the state passed, different codes guide gambling in the state. The codes can be found in the Illinois Compiled Statutes. This section will highlight the important sections in the article to overview how gambling works in the state and the various penalties attached to defaulting or breaking any laws.

Sec. 28-1 Gambling

This section defines gambling in the state, and it gives an in-depth overview of what kind of gambling is acceptable in the state and the ones classified as unlawful. Therefore, if you want to get started with gambling in Illinois, we advise that you go through sections 28-1a & b to have a good view of what activities you can participate in. That way, you do not end up breaking the law, which can land you in jail or require you to pay a certain fine.

Sec. 28-2 Definitions

The definitions section of the Illinois gambling code defines all aspects of gambling, from devices to locations (physical and online) and access. In this section, you get to know the various games you can place bets on and how you are allowed to gamble on each game. It also explains what it means to play a policy game. In addition to that, it references the various Home Owners' Act, Bank Act, and the Credit Union Act.

Sec. 28-3 Keeping a Gambling Place

The section defines a gambling place as any real estate, boat, vehicle, or any property used for gambling that is not conducted in the manner authorized by the Riverboat Gambling Act or the Video Gaming Act. It also states that anyone caught operating gambling activities in this manner will be charged with Class A Misdemeanor. As a result, they will be tried according to the state's criminal code, leading to fines or even serving a jail term in the state prison.

Sec. 28-4 Registration of Federal Gambling Stamps

This section speaks to casinos and sports betting operators looking to secure the state's federal wagering occupational tax stamp. This stamp is one of the federal requirements for anyone willing to provide gambling activities to players in various states across the country. In that case, if you are looking to run a sports betting site or casino, you might need to pay attention to this section.

Sec. 28-5 Seizure of Gambling Devices and Gambling Funds

This section explains the various gambling devices, such as slot machines, lottery terminals, and the like. It also states that any device considered unlawful and used for gambling would lead to its seizure and the forfeit of said operator's license. In addition to that, any money or things of value related to gambling acts will also be taken and forfeited.

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!