Best Illinois sports betting sites 2023

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What’s happening in Illinois sports betting right now?

When will Illinois end in-person verification for mobile sports betting?

Required in-person registration ended on March 5, 2022. The Illinois General Assembly passed a new law in October 2021 to eliminate the in-person registration requirement for Illinois sports bettors. HB 3136 is the bill setting the date for the change.

Comparing top sports betting apps in Illinois

Ultimately, the online sportsbook you choose depends on what you bet on, how you bet and what works best for you. Everyone and every app is different. Illinois has around half a dozen sportsbooks available online, and each carries its own strengths and weaknesses. Here’s a brief guide to the best options in some key categories plus short reviews of the top apps in the state:

1. DraftKings Sportsbook

DraftKings Sportsbook is one of the top sportsbooks in Illinois. Its best features include its cash-out option, which allows bettors to close their tickets before the end of the game. The betting carousel that tailors itself to each user is also an innovative addition. However, DraftKings could stand to improve promotions for existing customers.

2. Caesars Sportsbook

Caesars Sportsbook is a top-flight sports betting app that represents its preeminent corporate brand. One of the elements of Caesars’ sports betting presentation that stands out is its extensive library of daily odds boosts. At any one time, there may be more than 50 boosted bets that players can use. Caesars is a fine sportsbook, but don’t expect to be blown away by slick design features or flashy elements — it’s a very meat-and-potatoes presentation.

3. BetMGM Sportsbook

BetMGM is one of the top options in several legal markets. The same story is expected to unfold now that it’s available in Illinois. Top features include a huge menu of available sports and bet types, as well as innovations like Edit My Bet and Easy Parlay. However, navigation could be a bit smoother on the web platform.

4. BetRivers Sportsbook

BetRivers Sportsbook is the closest thing to a “home” sportsbook that Illinoisans have. It is the exclusive online gambling partner of the Chicago Bears, and its parent company has its headquarters on North Michigan Avenue. BetRivers is one of the few sportsbook apps to maintain a dedicated rewards program — iRush Rewards — for sports bettors. However, the app itself is still a work in progress, with many functionalities still in need of smoothing.

5. FanDuel Sportsbook

FanDuel Sportsbook has risen in the past few years to become one of the best sports betting apps in Illinois. FanDuel’s main appeal is its ease of use. It is also one of the best places to find same-game parlay options. However, FanDuel is still working out some bugs with regard to its biometric login functionality and its customer support response.

6. PointsBet Sportsbook

PointsBet is an Australian sportsbook that has been one of the notable success stories among overseas sports betting companies. It has distinguished itself with an aggressive approach to expansion and its namesake product, PointsBetting. The promotion lineup for existing users also is impressive. The app itself is serviceable but could use some tweaks in terms of its navigation, as not everything is easy to find.

New sports betting apps in Illinois

Illinois is one of the largest states to offer online sports betting in the country. A population above 10 million guarantees that the state is a prime target for gambling companies looking to increase their bottom line.

While it is home to several online sportsbooks, there are still more to come. The latest is BetMGM, which launched March 5, 2022. Below are some of the most likely candidates to open for business soon:

How to get started with best Illinois sportsbook bonuses

It’s easy to get started at an Illinois sports betting site. For the most part, after visiting a partner casino, the process takes just a few minutes.

The choice of where to play is up to you, but each Illinois sportsbook app offers welcome bonuses to new users. Here are top offers in Illinois:

  1. DraftKings Promo Code: Get up to $1,200 with a new account.
  2. Caesars Promo Code: Use promo code LSRFULL to receive up to $1,250 on Caesars + 1000 Tier Credits + 1000 Reward Credits®.
  3. BetMGM Bonus Code: Use bonus code LSR50 to get up to $1,000 paid back in bonus bets.
  4. BetRivers Bonus Code: Use promo code LSRRIV to receive a 2nd chance bet up to $500.
  5. FanDuel Promo Code: Get up to $1,000 No Sweat First Bet.
  6. PointsBet Promo Code: Get 5 second chance bet credits up to $50 each for a total up to $250.

Be sure to read the fine print of each offer. Some common types of bonuses that IL sportsbook apps offer include the following:

10 quick facts about Illinois sports betting

  1. Illinois legalized sports betting in June 2019.
  2. The first retail sportsbooks in Illinois opened in March 2020, and the first sportsbook app (BetRivers) arrived in June 2020.
  3. Illinois sports bettors have wagered as much as $840.4 million in a single month.
  4. Illinois sportsbooks have realized as much as $78.2 million in monthly revenue.
  5. Sports betting is available to anyone in Illinois who is 21 or older.
  6. Players must be inside state lines to bet, but they do not have to be residents of Illinois.
  7. Key sports employees (players, coaches, referees, etc.) are not permitted to bet on their own sports.
  8. Bets must occur on sporting events, not elections or award ceremonies.
  9. Wagering on in-state college teams is legal only for pregame wagers made in-person.
  10. Players were required to complete their registrations in-person at Illinois land-based casinos until March 5, 2022.

What to expect at a legal Illinois sports betting site

Illinois’ online sportsbooks are largely superior to their retail counterparts and are safe, secure and reliable. All the apps that this page lists have met the requirements of the Illinois Gaming Board. Legal sports betting sites have strict rules about security practices and business standards to keep you and your bets safe and fair.

Once the app is on your phone and the online sportsbook has verified your account, there is clear convenience in betting from anywhere in the state. Additionally, online sportsbooks have bonuses and betting options that you cannot find at casinos.

Illinois sports betting law and regulations

Illinois legalized sports betting with the passage of SB 690 in June 2019. The law allowed for online and retail sports betting in the state. Retail facilities cleared to offer sports betting included the state’s casinos, racetracks and larger sports venues. The law also provided for three online-only licenses to be awarded in 2021.

The defining feature of the law to this point has been its in-person registration requirement which ended March 2022. According to the law, all sports bettors must travel to the partner casino of the app that they want to use to complete their registrations. The pandemic in 2020 closed local casinos, and in turn, the state put a hold on the requirement until April 2021.

Here are some of the other details about Illinois’ sports betting law:

Full list of legal sports betting apps in Illinois

At present, there are seven sports betting apps live in Illinois. BetRivers was the first to launch in the state in 2020. Each app is partnered with a casino located in the state. Here are the legal sports betting apps in Illinois:

Illinois is home to a slew of major sports teams for people in the state to support and bet on, if they choose. Thanks to the language of Illinois’ sports betting law, bettors will soon be able to place wagers at the stadiums of many of these teams as well.

Here are the most popular sports and Illinois teams on which to bet in the state:

In addition to these Chicago teams, there are also options for wagering on other games in these leagues, special events like March Madness or the Olympics, and more individual-focused sports like tennis, mixed martial arts, golf and motorsports.

Illinois sports betting history

Although sports betting legalization efforts in Illinois began in 2018, they didn’t get serious until the following year. For that matter, it took a challenge from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who included sports betting revenue as part of his budget, to motivate Illinois lawmakers to put forth measures to make the activity a reality in the state. Here’s a brief rundown of everything that happened to bring sports betting to this point in Illinois.

2019: A flurry of legislative activity produces several bills but little agreement in the Illinois General Assembly. Ultimately, Rep. Bob Rita takes the mantle as the mediator of the process and negotiates several compromises with stakeholders. Pritzker signs the bill into law in late June.

2020: The first retail sportsbooks go live in March at Rivers Des Plaines and Argosy Casino Alton. Their service is short-lived due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. Pritzker suspends the in-person registration requirement in May as the launch of online sports betting approaches. The first online sportsbook, BetRivers, opens its virtual doors for business the following month. Before the end of 2020, four other online sportsbooks will launch in Illinois.

2021: The sixth online sportsbook in the state, Barstool Sports, opens for business in March. Handle and revenue continue to grow throughout the year, with Illinois sports bettors placing a record $840.4 million in wagers in October. That same month, the Illinois General Assembly votes to rescind the in-person registration requirement and allow in-person pregame wagering on in-state college teams.

2022: On March 5, the in-person registration requirement finally ended. This changed the game quickly in the state as the first full month of remote registration resulted in a record $971.3 million in handle. A new sportsbook called Caliente was deemed qualified to launch in Illinois in April, but Fubo did not pass muster. Meanwhile, DraftKings and the Chicago Cubs plan to open a retail sportsbook at Wrigley Field in the next year.

FAQ on Illinois sports betting

Is sports betting legal in Illinois?

Yes, sports betting is legal in Illinois, with several online and retail sportsbooks active in the state as of 2020. The Illinois General Assembly passed a sports betting law in 2019, which Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed in June of that year.

Where can I bet on sports in Illinois?

Illinois sportsbook apps make betting available statewide, but state law permits wagering at the state’s casinos, racetracks and selected sports arenas, too. Not every eligible facility has opened a sportsbook yet. Here are the locations that have a sportsbook open for business:

Is Bovada legal in Illinois?

No. Bovada is not licensed to operate by the Illinois Gaming Board and is not part of the regulated options for sports betting in the state. Bovada offers service to Illinoisans from outside the United States in violation of federal law. We recommend that you use one of the regulated options listed above for your wagers on sports in the Prairie State.

How old do I have to be to bet on sports in Illinois?

The minimum betting age is 21. Anyone who wants to bet on sports in Illinois, live or online, must verify that they are 21 or older.

Is horse betting legal in Illinois?

Yes. There are numerous outlets for betting on horse racing in Illinois. First and foremost, you can place bets in person at one of the two live racing tracks in the state — Fairmount Park and Hawthorne Race Course. In addition, each track maintains several satellite locations for off-track betting around the state. Between the two, there are 13 OTB parlors in Illinois.

Finally, Illinoisans are eligible to bet on horse racing through their mobile devices and computers at several online horse betting sites. Of those sites, the best option is TVG, which offers both wagering across the country and a 24-hour broadcast network dedicated to horse betting.

Can I play daily fantasy sports contests in Illinois?

Yes. Although the legality of DFS was a question for the courts for many years, the Illinois Supreme Court finally declared that some daily fantasy sports contests are skill games and are not illegal gambling under state law. Thus, DraftKings, FanDuel and other DFS providers are available to Illinois residents who want to play.

Additional resources on Illinois sports betting

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