Legal sports betting in Illinois begins in 2020, with legislation that authorizes both in-person and online betting in the state. The rollout has been a strained ordeal, and questions remain about the permanent rules that will define the Illinois sports betting market.
You must be at least 21 years of age to bet on sports in Illinois. The state’s existing casinos can immediately apply to offer both retail and online betting, while other online operators are subject to an 18-month waiting period before they can enter the market.
Online betting options in Illinois are currently limited, but mobile wagering did kick off in July 2020. You need to register in-person at a casino before betting online in Illinois.
Let’s take a close look at all the key info you need to know about betting on sports in Chicago and Illinois.
Best Online Sportsbooks in Illinois
Illinois Sports Betting at a Glance
As the fifth-largest state in the nation and home to most of the 9.5 million people living in Chicagoland, Illinois has the potential to be one of the largest legal sports betting markets in the world.
The rollout of the legal market was full of interruptions and debate, with retail sports betting in March 2020 before being immediately halted as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Luckily, Illinois lawmakers quickly saw the light and issued a temporary order allowing remote registration to proceed without the need to visit a casino to set up an online sports betting account.
The state initially tried to penalize major operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel due to their history operating daily fantasy competitions in Illinois against the wishes of many legislators. Online-only operators are barred from entering the market until late 2021, but major players have found a way to get their online platforms launched quickly nonetheless.
Online sportsbooks like BetRivers, DraftKings , FanDuel have partnered with existing Illinois casinos to manage their online platforms, allowing them to launch in the state without suffering the 18-month waiting period before online-only licenses become available.
The result is a market with massive upside potential, with regulatory confusion slowing its initial growth. Remote registration has been a boon for the 2020 launch Illinois’ legal sports betting market.
BetRivers was able to launch quickly following the suspension of in-person registration requirements. They do not require an online license since the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines is licensed to offer sports betting. DraftKings was able to launch slightly later by finalizing a partnership with Casino Queen in East St. Louis, while FanDuel launched their online platform in partnership with Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria.
Here are online betting sites currently available in Illinois:
|William Hill||Read Review|
These legal betting sites have earned our endorsement for their well-priced odds, lucrative bonuses, a wide range of betting options, and overall convenience.
Each also offers strong mobile sports betting platforms with dedicated sportsbook apps.
Latest IL Sports Betting News
With the changing nature of rules and restrictions and new operators entering the market all the time, Illinois sports bettors need to keep up with the latest updates.
Betting-places.com regularly updates this page with the most important recent news affecting the IL betting market. Check back here to stay ahead of the latest changes.
December 18, 2020 – The latest Illinois sports betting revenue numbers suggest that the market will continue to see rapid sustained growth heading into the new year. Total handle reached nearly $435 million dollars in October, representing a significant increase of nearly 43% over September’s figures.
Nearly 95% of all wagers were placed online in October, further demonstrating how remote registration has strengthened the Illinois market.
November 20, 2020 – The Golden Nugget has received 20 years guaranteed access to the Illinois sports betting market after agreeing to commit $30 million to the construction of a new Golden Nugget casino in Danville. The deal allows them to launch a statewide online platform along with offering in-person sports betting at the new casino.
November 15, 2020 – Updated September numbers from the Illinois Gaming Board show the state topped $300 million in handle (total amount wagered) for the first time.
The exponential growth of the market since summer is a direct result of remote registration, with 93% of all wagers currently being placed through mobile phones. September was also the first month in which more money was wagered in Illinois than neighboring Indiana. BetRivers continues to build on their home-field advantage, surpassing both FanDuel and DraftKings in wagers taken during September.
Governor J.B Pritzker must have seen the numbers, as he extended the emergency order that allows for remote registration at Illinois sports betting sites. The order will need to be extended again on December 13,
September 15, 2020 – Major international sportsbook William Hill becomes the fifth betting app and online platform available in the state.
September 12, 2020 – PointsBet launches their online betting platform in Illinois. There are now four unique betting apps available in the state as the in-person registration requirement remains suspended.
IL Sports Betting Apps & Mobile Betting
Sports bettors in Illinois have the flexibility to bet from their phones anywhere, at any time.
While Illinois lawmakers have taken a cautious approach by only allowing one online betting platform per casino, the state’s market has already been dominated by mobile betting.
Most of us connect with sports primarily through our mobile devices, so the options for fully-remote betting is a must for any state that wants to prevent residents from visiting unlicensed offshore operators or simply driving across state lines into, say, Indiana.
The best betting apps make it easy to browse the odds and betting options on the go and support the same functionality as their desktop-version counterparts.
Note that some betting apps are market-specific, meaning you will be required to download the ‘Illinois version’ to place wagers within the state.
Here are the sports betting apps available in Illinois:
|Betting App||State-Specific?||More Info|
Note that the BetRivers app is available for Android users only, while all others are available for both iOS and Android. Simply follow the links in the table above for a complete review of the sportsbooks features and bonuses you can expect to find at each.
IL Sports Betting Bonuses & Promo Codes
Finding a solid Illinois sports betting bonus offer is straightforward. Most IL betting apps offer lucrative sign up offers worth up to $1,000.
The opportunity to take advantage of lucrative bonuses and promotions is one of the best things about betting on sports online.
While retail sportsbooks in casinos may offer occasional promos, they are a new customer acquisition play the sportsbooks mostly reserve for online players.
Here are the best IL sports betting sign up bonuses available today:
- FanDuel ($1,000 Risk Free Bets)
- DraftKings ($1,000 Welcome Offer)
- PointsBet ($1,000 Welcome Offer)
Finding the best bonus for you depend on the way you plan to wager. While the Illinois bonus offers listed above provide great value, they require a larger deposit to take full advantage.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy sign up bonus, BetRivers offers a generous $250 deposit match for new players. Click here to redeem this bonus.
Many promos take the form of boosted odds that offer a bigger potential payout for the same risk. Other bonuses include risk-free bet credits or even skills-based contests.
Note that most sportsbooks do not require an IL betting promo code to take advantage of these offers.
No matter which sportsbook you go with, make sure they are licensed to operate by the Illinois Gaming Board.
Let’s take a detailed look at the sports betting laws in Illinois you need to be aware of.
Where to Bet Legally
Illinois doesn’t have a great record in terms of politics and policy. Chicago has long been known as a hotbed of transactional politics and special interests. Remember when Governor Rod Blagojevich tried to sell Barack Obama’s US Senate seat?
The path to sports betting legalization in the state was unsurprisingly full of overly personal debate and consideration of a huge number of interests. The legislation is among the most complicated sports betting laws in the country.
While the law is intended to offer a fair shake to smaller operators and protect consumers, the extremely high regulatory burden is likely to have the opposite effect, where only companies with huge amounts of funding are able to establish themselves in the market.
Sports betting in Illinois is authorized under the Sports Wagering Act (230 ILCS 45). Permanent rules regarding operations in the state were adopted on June 4, 2020. You can review them in detail, but the key info is summarized below.
IL Online Sports Betting
Online sports betting in Illinois is legal, but there are some limitations. While the market is one of the most expensive and heavily-regulated for operators, the sheer size of the Chicago sports betting market has motivated big online players to pay up and make their platforms available quickly.
As a bettor, you’ll have an easy time signing up for online sports betting in Illinois.
Sign Up to Bet Online from Anywhere
You no longer need to visit an Illinois casino to sign up for sports betting in the state.
Illinois originally instituted an 18-month rollout period for online betting, requiring bettors to visit a retail sportsbook location at a casino or racetrack to verify their online betting accounts.
This restriction has been lifted and re-imposed several times during 2020. Fully remote registration is currently authorized in Illinois, and is widely expected to continue indefinitely.
IL sportsbooks are required to check user’s location whenever they attempt to place a wager or fund their accounts.
Geo-comply software will ping your location frequently when visiting your sportsbook of choice. Most betting apps have integrated this functionality with the location services on your mobile device, while computer users will generally need to download an unobtrusive software package directly from their sportsbook website.
Note that you do not need to be an Illinois resident to use a betting app or online sportsbook in the state. Location requirements apply to your physical presence within state lines rather than your regular place of residence.
Online Sports Betting Licenses in Illinois
Despite the willingness of the biggest operators to pay up, the growth of the IL sports betting market has undeniably been hampered by exceedingly expensive regulations and restrictions. The Sports Wagering Act has put in place an exceedingly complex process to award online betting licenses in the state.
To operate an online sportsbook in Illinois, operators must hold a “master license” that allows them to offer sports wagering of any kind. Only existing casinos, racetracks, and professional sporting arenas are eligible to apply for the master licenses.
Master licensees are authorized to launch just one online platform per license. This means each of the state’s existing casinos can either partner with a single existing online brand, or create their own online platform.
Unlike in most other states with legal online sports betting, Illinois casinos cannot use their license to offer multiple online “skins” (brands). What’s more, they must receive separate approval for their online platform after receiving a master license.
Three online-only licenses will also be made available later in 2021.
IL sports betting licensing fees are among the highest in the nation. Master license fees for existing casinos, racetracks, and sporting arenas depend on their existing revenue and are capped at $10 million, while online-only licenses will cost $20 million.
Sports betting taxes in Illinois fall towards the middle of the pack when compared with other states that offer legal online betting. The Illinois sports betting tax rate is 15% of gross adjusted revenue, or the amount left over after winnings have been paid.
While they aren’t the highest in the country, these financial hurdles are significant enough to limit Illinois’ online market. Lower taxes and licensing fees mean more competition and space for smaller start-up operators, which leads to better odds and juicier bonuses for Illinois sports bettors.
Where to Bet In-Person
Finding a location to bet on sports in person is relatively easy in Illinois. And while its hard to match the convenience and flexibility that comes with the ability to bet from anywhere online, visiting a casino or racetrack does have its advantages.
Nothing can replace a brick-and-mortar sportsbook if you’re looking to soak up the excitement of a room full of bettors anxiously keeping tabs on their action.
Luckily, several Illinois casinos both surrounding Chicago and further afield have received the master licenses required to operate retail sportsbooks.
The following casinos have been authorized to offer retail sports betting in Illinois:
- Argosy Casino Alton
- Grand Victoria Casino
- Hollywood Casino Aurora
- Hollywood Casino Joliet
- Rivers Casino-Des Plaines
- Casino Queen
- Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino
Find the full address, hours of operation, and name of the sportsbook at each IL sports betting retail location below.
|Argosy Casino Alton||Sportsbook at Argosy Casino Alton||1 Piasa Street|
Alton, IL 62002
|Sunday to Thursday: 9am – 1am|
Friday & Saturday: 9am – 3am
|Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin||Grand Victoria Sportsbook||250 S Grove Ave, Elgin, IL 60120||Daily: 8:30am – 6:30am|
|Hollywood Casino Aurora||Sportsbook at Hollywood Aurora||1 W New York St, Aurora, IL 60506||Sunday to Thursday: 8:30am – 4:30am|
Friday & Saturday: 8:30am – 6:30am
|Hollywood Casino Joliet||Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino Joliet||777 Hollywood Blvd, Joliet, IL 60436||Daily: 8am – 4am|
|Rivers Casino-Des Plaines||BetRivers Sportsbook||3000 S River Rd, Des Plaines, IL 60018||Daily: 10am – 12am|
|Casino Queen||DraftKings at Casino Queen||200 S Front St, East St Louis, IL 62201||Daily: 8am – 3am|
|Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino||Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino Sportsbook||21 Blackjack Blvd, East Peoria, IL 61611||Sunday to Thursday: 8am – 4am|
Friday & Saturday: 8am – 6am
*Hours are subject to change due to COVID-19
IL Sports Betting Rules & Restrictions
Despite the complicated licensing regime, Illinois has taken a relatively open-minded approach to sports betting offerings themselves.
There are only a few restrictions on who can bet on sports in the state. Similarly, most popular sporting events and wagering types are fair game at Illinois sportsbooks and betting apps.
Who Can Bet on Sports?
Most adults who are physically present in the state can bet on sports in Illinois. You must be at least 21 years of age and physically located within the state.
So long as you are not on a self-exclusion list, you are otherwise able to bet on sports legally in Illinois.
Which Sports and Events Can I Bet On?
The Illinois Gaming Board states that “The Sports Wagering Act and the proposed rules allow master sports wagering licensees to offer wagers on any professional sport, any motorsport, and any collegiate sport excluding those involving Illinois collegiate teams.”
This is a broad mandate that allows wagering on a huge range of events from around the world.
No Betting on Illinois Collegiate Teams
Along with sports betting behemoth New Jersey, Illinois does not allow any wagering on collegiate events that include a team or athlete representing a college or university in the state.
Luckily, IL sports bettors lots of hometown professional teams to back.
Other Events of “Relative Skill” May Be Allowed
While the Sports Wagering Act explicitly allows professional sports and (most) collegiate with no need for individual approval, sportsbooks can apply for permission to offering wagering on other events of “relative skill.”
It will be interesting to see how the Illinois Gaming Board interprets this element of the legislation. In theory, it could allow betting on emerging categories such as eSports.
Which Types of Wagering Are Allowed on These Events?
Illinois allows all the most popular wagering types found at online betting sites, including:
- Straight bets (Moneyline, spread, O/U)
- Parlays & Accumulators
- Pleasers & Teasers
- Player & Championship Futures
- Live Betting
- Props & Exotics
The board has reserved the right to ban any form of wagering they find contrary to the public interest over time. At the time of launch, however, all wagering types are fair play at Illinois sportsbooks.
Illinois Sports Betting FAQs
Can I legally bet on sports in Illinois?
Yes, sports betting was legalized in Illinois in 2020.
How can I start betting online in Chicago?
Review the sportsbooks within this article to see which is best suited to you.
What sports can I bet on in Illinois?
You can bet on most largely popular events in Chicago. However, you cannot bet on any teams or individuals representing a college institution.
How old do you have to be to bet on sports in Illinois?
To legally bet on sports in Illinois, you must be at least 21 years old.
Local Teams Worth Betting On
While we advise you to bet with your head and not your heart, SBD understands that fans want to support their favorite teams. Get started with these local Illinois teams:
- Chicago Cubs
- Chicago White Sox
- Chicago Bears
- Chicago Bulls
- Chicago Blackhawks
We’re here to provide the data and analysis you need to bet confidently and intelligently. Betting-places.com is the best place for betting tools and editorial coverage you can use to quickly gauge the betting value of your favorite teams.
Illinois Sports Betting History
With a couple of exceptions, sports betting was illegal across the United States until the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May 2018.
Illinois moved quickly to create a regulatory framework for legal sports betting. but took its time creating final regulations.
Here are the key dates on the path to legalization:
May 2018: The US Supreme Court overturns PASPA, opening the door for each state to create their own laws regulating sports betting.
Jan – August 2018: More than five separate bills regulating sports betting are proposed in the months immediately preceding and following the PASPA repeal. It’s clear from the get-go that Illinois lawmakers have a wide range of opinions regarding what sports betting should look like in the state.
June 2019: Lawmakers in both chambers agree on a bipartisan bill that includes the final stipulations described in this article. It is signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker as the Sports Wagering Act.
March 2020: The first wagers are accepted at Rivers Casino. Within days, all of the state’s casinos are forced to shut down as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
June 2020: Governor Pritzker signs an executive order temporarily lifting the in-person registration requirement for online sportsbooks.
Find the Best Legal Betting Apps for Every State
Betting-places.com is your source to find the best online sportsbooks and betting information wherever you live. You can find detailed sportsbook reviews from our list of the best online betting sites, with key information on bonuses, banking, downloading the right apps, and more.
If you’re looking to stay on top of the latest legal updates or are wondering where sports betting is legal, our sports betting legal tracker can help.