Illinois is one of the more recent states to dip its toes into the online gambling pool. The Land of Lincoln legalized online sports betting in June 2019 and went officially live in March 2020. Sadly, this exciting event coincided with the first COVID-19 national lockdowns, grounding the initiative even before it started.
A handful of brick-and-mortar sports betting establishments had their doors open for less than a week when J. B. Pritzker, Illinois’s governor, ordered the closure of casinos due to the pandemic. That proved catastrophic – not only for physical, land-based casinos but also for online operators as players were required to register at a physical casino.
COVID-19 forced Governor Pritzker’s hand, and he eventually conceded to allow online gambling registrations in June 2020. Online bettors in Illinois were forced to bet in person at that time, but that all changed on December 17, 2021. This was when House Bill 3136 was signed into law. Its amendments allowed Illinois bettors to register remotely starting March 5, 2022.
Here’s what you need to know about sports betting in Illinois.
Can I Bet on Sports in Illinois?
Yes, you can bet on sports in the state of Illinois. Players have the option to bet in-person at land-based sportsbooks or online.
Do I Have to Be a Resident of Illinois to Bet Online?
Anyone can wager on online sportsbooks in Illinois as long as they are physically present within the state’s borders. Online operators use geolocation technology to determine the physical location of a player.
What Is the Legal Betting Age in Illinois?
In order to legally bet on sports in Illinois, you must be 21-years-old.
Why Should I Join an Illinois Betting Site?
Betting in Illinois is safe and fun. Here are some reasons why you should bet in Illinois:
- Illinois sportsbooks are safe, legal, and regulated by the Illinois Gambling Board.
- Most of IL’s online sportsbooks offer great promotions and welcome bonuses for new users. Some of these promotions will include deposit matches, free bets, and risk-free bets.
- Plenty of Banking Options to quickly deposit and withdraw winnings.
- You can bet from the comfort of your home, on the go on mobile, or at a land-based sportsbook.
- Customer service will be timely and helpful, putting your mind at ease and solving any potential issues.
Why Avoid Offshore Sportsbooks
- Offshore sportsbooks are unregulated.
- It is illegal for offshore sportsbooks to process financial transactions.
- Users are often asked to convert their money to cryptocurrency to help overcome the illegal nature of offshore sports betting.
- There are way fewer banking options for deposits and withdrawals.
- You can’t trust that you’ll be paid.
- There are fewer betting options available.
- There are no online sports betting apps available, so it’s more inconvenient.
Illinois Sports Betting Sites
Illinois has several live online sportsbooks at present, with others waiting for approval. Below are some of the best betting sites currently live in Illinois:
FanDuel Sportsbook is No. 1 sportsbooks in the United States. It took American markets by storm in 2009 with the launch of its online daily fantasy sports. Since transitioning to online sports betting, this sportsbook went from strength to strength and came out on top in any online market it touches.
FanDuel’s online sports betting platforms give this operator its edge in the industry. IGT is behind the software and Paddy Power Betfair manages pricing and risks. The virtual layout is intuitive and a cut above the rest. Players can easily switch between preferences and options such as Odds Boosts. Few can compete with FanDuel’s web and mobile performance and user-friendliness.
DraftKings Sportsbook is no rookie in the US sports betting world. This online sportsbook was the first to go live in New Jersey. Since then, DraftKings has been increasing its presence as more and more states legalize online sports betting.
Compared to its competitors, DraftKings’ web-based and mobile layouts seem rather simplistic. You’ll find the top and bottom menus are easy to navigate, allowing you to switch smoothly between games and functions. DraftKings features a robust selection of betting markets and bet types.
Caesars Sportsbook has emerged as a giant in the sports betting industry. They purchased William Hill in 2021, a sportsbook that has been around since 1934 and has its roots in England. This allowed Caesars to really expand its operation and establish itself as one of the top betting sites around.
The site’s web-based and mobile apps are straightforward and easy to use. Caesars offers some of the most lucrative welcome bonuses in the industry. There are also multiple odds boosts to help you gain value on your bets. You can feel at ease depositing your funds into such a reputable brand.
BetMGM Sportsbook emerged out of a partnership between casino resort giant MGM Resorts and Entain Holdings. Its sleek interface and user-friendly app have helped make the site one of the best sportsbooks around. You’ll find fair odds and multiple betting markets at BetMGM.
There is also an expansive live-betting platform with live-streaming available on select events. This is a great way to add entertainment to the experience, as you’re able to follow along with your wager in real-time. There are also a number of payment methods to help make this an easier process.
PointsBet Sportsbook is known for its technologically advanced and fresh offers. This operator entered the online gambling arena in 2019. The uncluttered web-based and mobile platforms make for easy navigation. PointsBet is user-friendly and allows users to switch easily between games and betting functions.
Its PointsBetting feature helps set it apart from its competitors. This is a bet type where you can win more money if your team has a greater winning margin, but lose more if the opposite is true. It’s a high-upside type of sports betting that has enticed several users to join the site, as it is now one of the most popular on the market.
How Do I Join Illinois Sports Betting Sites?
Originally, Illinois was pretty strict with its registration for online sports betting. Legislation determined that a player had to register in person at the land-based casino sponsoring the online sportsbook. Therefore, if you wanted to place your bets with the Caesars Sportsbook, you had to go to Grand Victoria Casino for your online registration.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, this measure was temporarily suspended but came back into effect in April 2021. Upon registration, you had been asked to provide:
- Your name and surname.
- Residential address.
- Date of birth – you have to be 21 years or older to legally gamble in Illinois.
- Social Security number.
Illinois online sportsbooks verify the age and domicile of prospective players. You were often asked to submit documents such as your driver’s license and utility bills to aid these verification processes. This state also takes responsible gambling seriously and has issued a list of people not allowed to gamble within the borders of Illinois. The legislation defines gambling as being any casino game or sport involving real-money wagers.
The good news is this changed as of March 5, 2022. Bettors are now able to register for an online sportsbook at a remote location. There is no need to travel to the local casino to sign up for the sportsbook. While you’ll still be asked to provide personal information, registration is now a much more convenient process.
How To Fund My Account
Online Illinois sportsbooks make it quick and easy to deposit funds and withdraw winnings. Not every sportsbook has the same options, but all are user-friendly.
Whether it’s your first deposit or you’re a long-time customer, depositing is an easy process:
- Click Deposit or Add Funds
- Choose your preferred banking method
- Enter the amount you want to deposit
- If using an eWallet such as PayPal, enter your password
- The site will verify the process is complete and it will be reflected in your deposit
- Check for a confirmation email from the sportsbook
The withdrawal process is quick and easy. You can find the steps below:
- Click ‘Withdraw’ on the sportsbook desktop or mobile app.
- Choose a method of withdrawal.
- Enter the amount you want to take out.
- If using an eWallet such as PayPal, you will need to type in your password to complete the transaction.
- Your balance will reflect the withdrawal and you will receive an email confirmation.
Each sportsbook features a wide range of options to suit your needs, whether you are looking to deposit or withdraw funds. The funds will be deposited into your account instantly, which is convenient to allow you to place your wager right away. Your withdrawals are usually processed within 24-48 hours.
Some of the deposit options include:
- Credit/Debit Cards (Visa, AMEX, Mastercard, Discover)
- Prepaid Cards
- Play+ Cards
While there are fewer withdrawal options than with deposits, there are still enough options to make the process timely and efficient:
- Play+ Prepaid Cards
- Check By Mail
- Cash At Casino Cage
How to Download an IL Betting App
Sportsbook apps are the main way to bet on sports in the state of Illinois. Downloading sportsbook apps to your phone/mobile device are quick and easy. Below is the step-by-step process for both iOS and Android:
- Go to the Apple app store
- Select the sportsbook mobile app
- Click on the app and click “Get”
- Confirm the installation with verification
- Wait for the app to download
- Deposit, withdraw, or place a wager on your selected sportsbook
- Open Google Play and use the Play Store app
- Select the sportsbook mobile app
- Click ‘Download’
- Deposit, withdraw, or place a wager on your selected sportsbook
- If the sportsbook mobile app is not available on the app store, you can download it from the desktop site.
What Sports Can I Bet on in IL?
Sports bettors in Illinois are able to place a wager on any of the options provided by the eligible sportsbooks that are operational in the state. You don’t need to worry about missing on a potential bet that is only available in another state. The list of options includes:
- Football (NFL, NCAA)
- Basketball (NBA, NCAA)
- Baseball (MLB)
- Hockey (NHL)
- Motorsports (NASCAR, Formula 1)
- Mixed Martial Arts (UFC)
Each sportsbook has its own rules and regulations, so not every sportsbook follows the same guidelines. There are, however, certain restrictions that all sports bettors must follow in the state of IL. Below are the following restrictions:
- Bettors can not wager on high school athletics.
- Bettors can not wager on non-sporting competitions such as elections and the Oscars.
Bettors can place wagers on in-state college teams as of March 5, 2022, as long as it meets the following guidelines:
- Pre-game bet
- Relates to the final score (no props)
- Placed in-person
Local Sports Teams to Bet on
The following teams are local to the state of Illinois:
- Chicago Bears
- Chicago Bulls
- Chicago Cubs
- Chicago White Sox
- Chicago Blackhawks
- Chicago Sky
- Chicago Fire FC
Bet Types Available
- Moneyline: The moneyline is the most basic form of sports betting. It’s simply the bettor picking which team will win, balanced by the sportsbook’s odds that it will happen. The favorite will have a negative moneyline, while the underdog will have a positive moneyline.
- Point Spread: The margin of victory involved in betting Against The Spread (ATS). The bettor is wagering on the point margin between two teams.
- Totals: Also known as an Over/Under, is betting on a game or prop total for more (Over) or fewer (Under) than a sportsbook-designated total.
- Props: Bet on an item not directly involved with the score/result of a game. A prop could be a player’s total points scored, home runs hit, touchdowns scored, and it can be team totals like passing yards, three-pointers made, etc.
- Live Betting: Live betting allows a sports bettor to place wagers on games as they happen. The sportsbook will change the odds as the game progresses depending on what’s happening in the game.
- Futures: Betting on an event, statistic, or anything similar to occur after the end of a full event or season. An example of this would be betting on next year’s Super Bowl winner in the preseason.
- Parlays: A single bet that links together two or more individual wagers and is dependent on all of those wagers winning together. If any of the bets in the parlay lose, the entire parlay loses.
- PointsBetting (exclusive to PointsBet): Your winnings or losses from a bet are not determined until the very end of a game. If your bet wins by one point (or unit), you would win 1x your bet amount (stake). If your bet wins by 2 units, you win 2x stake, and so on. Conversely, if you lose by 1 unit, you would lose 1x stake and so on.
Illinois Sportsbook List
Illinois offers gambling fans land-based and online sports betting options. The following retail sportsbooks can be visited in this state:
- Rivers Casino Des Plaines
- Argosy Casino Alton
- Grand Victoria Casino
- DraftKings at Casino Queen
- Hollywood Casino & Hotel Joliet
- Hollywood Casino Aurora
- Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino
- Hawthorne Race Course
- Club Hawthorne Oakbrook Terrace & PointsBet Sportsbook
Can I Play at Online Casinos in IL?
Currently, there are no laws in Illinois making gambling online at Illinois online casinos unregulated. However, Iowa online gambling sites operating in the site are offshore ventures, making it seem illegal because no legal sites are allowing this.
When Did IL Sports Betting Sites Become Legal?
Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the bill legalizing online sports betting in June 2019. The first above-board sports wager was placed on March 9th, 2020, at Rivers Casino.
The time-lapse signifies how drawn out the process has been to gain legal operator status in this state. The bill (SB690), amounting to a staggering $12bn to legalize online gambling, stipulates a 540-day waiting period before online-only operators can submit applications to the Illinois Gaming Board.
Rivers Casino requested that this waiting period be extended to three years, but the lawmakers eventually agreed on 18 months. The goal with these waiting periods was to afford retail casinos and sportsbooks the opportunity to establish themselves in the online market before the entry of big online names such as FanDuel and DraftKings.
The clock on this 540-day waiting period was deliberately frozen to process the applications of the physical casinos. When Rivers Casino accepted the first sports wager in March 2020, the other brick-and-mortar Illinois casinos and sportsbooks did not have permanent online permits. Out of the seven physical casinos, only two qualified for provisional approval.
COVID-19 put a stop to this tedious back-and-forth. The governor and other state officials recognized the need for casinos to survive during the pandemic. In June 2020, Governor Pritzker signed an order allowing players to register online. This order was renewed on a month-to-month basis.
Sadly, it was only a temporary relief measure. Since the start of April 2021, in-person registrations at physical casinos are back in play. The good news is that there was an influx of online sports betting registrations, eventually starting the 540-day countdown for sole online operators.
More good news came on December 17, 2021. Governor Pritzker signed HB 3136 into law, allowing Illinois bettors to register online remotely and place wagers on in-state college teams (within certain restrictions) as of March 5, 2022. This will undoubtedly increase the number of online bettors within the state, which bodes well for the future of sports betting in Illinois.
Illinois Sports Betting Timeline
- May 14, 2018:After a long and uphill battle, the Supreme Court rules in favor of New Jersey and declares the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) unlawful. This allowed all states to legalize sports betting.
- June 28, 2019:Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the bill to officially legalize sports betting in Illinois.
- March 9, 2020:The first legal wager in Illinois was placed at Rivers Casino.
- June 18, 2020:BetRivers became the first mobile sportsbook to launch in the state. The state also temporarily removed the in-person registration requirement.
- April 4, 2021: Illinois lawmakers allow Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s executive order calling for remote registration to expire. All new users must now register or verify their accounts in person before betting on sports in Illinois.
- December 17, 2021: Gov. Pritzker signs HB 3136 into law, allowing Illinois bettors to sign up for online accounts at remote locations. This also permits betting on in-state college teams.
- March 5, 2022: HB 3136 comes into effect. Illinois bettors rejoice!