Illinois Sports Betting
Illinois sports betting is live and legal throughout the state, with seven online sportsbooks available for play. Bettors can sign up and place a bet from anywhere in the state.
BetMGM Sportsbook is the latest to launch a mobile betting app. The majority of Illinois’ retail casinos have sports betting facilities open for business, too. Illinois sports betting apps regularly offer bonuses and promotions for new users. The state is quickly becoming one of the most successful and competitive for online sports betting.
Here is more of what you need to know about mobile sports betting in Illinois.
Best Illinois sports betting sites 2022
What’s happening in Illinois sports betting right now?
- December 5, 2022 – Illinois’ seven professional sports teams could be licensed for sports betting directly if HB 5847 passes.
- November 17, 2022 – Total handle hit $831.8 million for September, up 39.5% from last September’s handle. The growth can be partially attributed to the permanent reinstatement of remote registration in March.
- October 31, 2022 – The Illinois Gaming Board confirmed it will re-open the application process for its online-only sports betting licenses after sole-winner Tekkorp ended its search for a sports betting company to acquire.
- October 24, 2022 – Sportsbooks in Illinois reported $564.8 million in August handle, which jumped 41.1% over last August’s $400.4 million.
- October 17, 2022 – There could be another round of bidding for the $20 million standalone mobile licenses after the sole winner Tekkorp decided not to move forward with a sports betting acquisition.
- October 2, 2022 – The Chicago Bears dropped their second game of the season, this time to the New York Giants in a 20-12 low-scoring affair.
- September 24, 2022 – The Illinois Fighting Illini are off to their best start since 2015 with a 3-1 record, but most are likely not betting on the team in Illinois. Only retail sportsbooks can accept bets on in-state colleges.
- September 19, 2022 – The Chicago Bears failed to cover and lost their first game of the season to the rival Green Bay Packers in a 27-10 primetime loss.
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:
- Best sportsbook for Chicago sports: BetRivers. BetRivers’ parent company, Rush Street Interactive, is headquartered in Chicago and is the exclusive partner of the Chicago Bears. As such, it has many Chicago-centric options and offers for people in the Windy City.
- Best sportsbook for a variety of sports: Caesars. Caesars has the deepest lineup of a variety sports to bet on of any book in Illinois, in part thanks to its acquisition of William Hill.
- Best sportsbook for navigation: FanDuel. FanDuel is a user-friendly app with a clear and simple organization. Its slick and simple design makes it easy to find the games you want and to monitor your wagers during the game. In a 2021 Eilers & Krejcik independent study, FanDuel scored 4.6 out of 5 for the betting interface category with high marks for user experience as well.
- Best sportsbook for innovative or unique design: DraftKings. DraftKings is a pioneer of the early cash-out option in the US and offers a customized betting carousel when a player logs onto the site. The carousel suggests likely wagers for you based upon your stated preferences and betting history.
- Best sportsbook for iOS and Android apps: FanDuel, DraftKings, PointsBet. All three of these apps consistently get positive reviews on Google Play and the App Store, with particularly high marks for app speed and design.
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.
- App rating: 4.8 (iOS), 4.7 (Android)
- Key takeaway: Innovative app that offers customized experiences for each player.
- Best feature: Betting carousel
- IL bonus offer: $1,050
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.
- App rating: 4.6 (iOS), 4.4 (Android)
- Key takeaway: Solid sportsbook with competitive odds
- Best feature: Copious odds boosts available at all times
- IL bonus offer: $1,250
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.
- App rating: 4.8 (iOS), 4.1 (Android)
- Key takeaway: Huge menu of sports and bet types.
- Best feature: Edit my bet and easy parlay.
- IL bonus offer: $1,000
4. 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.
- App rating: 4.7 (iOS), 4.5 (Android)
- Key takeaway: Unique type of betting makes the app worth a try.
- Best feature: Promotions and bonus offers
- IL bonus offer: $2,000
5. 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.
- App rating: 2.5 (iOS), 3.2 (Android)
- Key takeaway: Hometown app focuses energies on the Chicago community.
- Best feature: News feed proclaiming big winners in the main lobby
- IL bonus offer: $500
6. 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.
- App rating: 4.8 (iOS), 4.7 (Android)
- Key takeaway: Navigating a sports betting app has never been easier.
- Best feature: Wide selection of same-game parlays
- IL bonus offer: $1,000
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:
- Unibet Sportsbook, no timeline
- theScore Bet, no timeline
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:
- DraftKings Promo Code: Get up to $1,050 with a new account.
- Caesars Promo Code: Use promo code LEGALFULL to receive a free bet up to $1,250 on Caesars + 1000 Tier Credits + 1000 Reward Credits®.
- BetMGM Bonus Code: Use bonus code PLAY1000 to get your risk free bet up to $1,000.
- PointsBet Promo Code: Use bonus code BETBONUS to get two second chance free bets up to $2,000.
- BetRivers Bonus Code: Use promo code PLAYRIV to receive a 2nd chance free bet up to $500.
- FanDuel Promo Code: Get up to $1,000 No Sweat First Bet.
Be sure to read the fine print of each offer. Some common types of bonuses that IL sportsbook apps offer include the following:
- Deposit bonus: The sportsbook agrees to match all or a portion of your deposit amount with its own money — effectively increasing your deposit to a certain degree. These bonuses are often called match bonuses.
- Free bets: Free bets allow you to make a single wager in a preset denomination on the sporting event of your choice. If you win, you receive the profit as new cash in your account.
- Risk-free bets: For a risk-free bet, you will first have to place a wager that meets the sportsbook’s conditions. If you win, then you simply collect the profit from your win. If you lose, however, the site will issue you site credits equivalent to a percentage of your lost bet. These types of promotions sometimes go by cashback or insurance bonuses.
10 quick facts about Illinois sports betting
- Illinois legalized sports betting in June 2019.
- The first retail sportsbooks in Illinois opened in March 2020, and the first sportsbook app (BetRivers) arrived in June 2020.
- Illinois sports bettors have wagered as much as $840.4 million in a single month.
- Illinois sportsbooks have realized as much as $78.2 million in monthly revenue.
- Sports betting is available to anyone in Illinois who is 21 or older.
- Players must be inside state lines to bet, but they do not have to be residents of Illinois.
- Key sports employees (players, coaches, referees, etc.) are not permitted to bet on their own sports.
- Bets must occur on sporting events, not elections or award ceremonies.
- Wagering on in-state college teams is legal only for pregame wagers made in-person.
- 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:
- License fees are 5% of the previous year’s or the current year’s handle, depending on when the state issues the license. The maximum fee is $10 million.
- The online-only licenses, however, require a $20 million fee.
- All licenses are valid for four years and are renewable for $1 million.
- Sports betting is taxed at a rate of 15% of gross gaming revenue.
- Live wagers must use official league data.
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:
- Barstool Sportsbook (Hollywood Casino Aurora/Hollywood Casino Joliet)
- BetMGM Sportsbook
- BetRivers Sportsbook (Rivers Des Plaines)
- Caesars Sportsbook (Grand Victoria Casino Elgin/Harrah’s Joliet/Harrah’s Metropolis)
- DraftKings Sportsbook (DraftKings at Casino Queen)
- FanDuel Sportsbook (Par-a-Dice Casino)
- PointsBet Sportsbook (Hawthorne Race Course)
Popular sports to bet on 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:
- NBA — Chicago Bulls
- NFL — Chicago Bears
- MLB — Chicago White Sox
- MLB — Chicago Cubs
- NHL — Chicago Blackhawks
- MLS — Chicago Fire FC
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:
- Rivers Des Plaines, 3000 S. River Road, Des Plaines, IL 60018
- Argosy Casino Alton, 1 Piasa St., Alton, IL 62002
- Grand Victoria Casino, 250 S. Grove Ave., Elgin, IL 60120
- DraftKings at Casino Queen, 200 S. Front St., East St Louis, IL 62201
- Par-a-Dice Casino, 21 Blackjack Blvd., East Peoria, IL 61611
- Hollywood Casino Aurora, 1 W. New York St., Aurora, IL 60506
- Hollywood Casino Joliet, 777 Hollywood Blvd., Joliet, IL 60436
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
- Illinois Gaming Board website, chief regulatory agency over gambling in Illinois
- Illinois General Assembly, lawmaking body for the state of Illinois
- WeKnowtheFeeling.org, problem gambling assistance group funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services
- Chicago Sun-Times, one of two main newspapers in Chicago, with information on the Chicago Bulls, Chicago Bears and other sports events
- Chicago Tribune, one of two main newspapers in Chicago, covers Illinois sports and state legislation
- Daily Herald, newspaper serving suburban areas of Chicago such as Aurora, Elgin and Naperville