Illinois Sports Betting

Online sports betting and in-person sportsbooks are now live in Illinois.

Rivers Casino Des Plaines took the first legal Illinois sports wager on March 9, 2020. Online sports betting went live in the summer of 2020, and for now, accounts must be created and registered while at a physical casino.

As of April 3, you must visit a retail casino in Illinois to complete the sign-up process for an online sports betting account. Once that’s done, you can wager from anywhere within state lines.

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New to sports betting in Illinois?

Click here to learn more about sports betting in your state!

Is sports betting legal in Illinois?

Restrictions & licenses

Legal, licensed and regulated

The state legislature passed a bill allowing for Illinois sports betting at riverboat casinos, horse racetracks and sports facilities in spring 2019. Gov. JB Pritzker, who helped push the complicated legislation passed the finish line, signed S 690 into law in June 2019.

As part of the law, three online-only sportsbook licenses will be available in late 2021. Illinois brick-and-mortar gambling facilities were given an 18-month head start to the online market. Although that head start has diminished as online brands have quickly signed deals with land-based partners to get up and running in Illinois.

The Illinois sports betting law also includes a 15% tax rate on gross gaming revenue and a cap of $10 million for a licensing fee that rises to $20 million for the online-only license.

What is legal to bet on in Illinois?

People within the borders of Illinois can now bet on professional, collegiate, and international sporting events.

The only legal requirements are that you are over 21, inside state lines, and not on a self-exclusion list. There is no requirement to be a permanent resident of Illinois.

There are some restrictions for betting:

  • Bets can only be taken on sports, not on non-sporting competitions such as elections and the Oscars.
  • Personnel involved in sports leagues (officials, coaches and so on) can’t bet on their own sports
  • Wagers are not allowed on in-state collegiate teams.

Best sports betting apps in Illinois for 2021

BetRivers became the first online sportsbook to launch in Illinois on June 18, 2020. For a short time, people in Illinois could register an account online, make a deposit, and immediately start placing bets at BetRivers.

Gov. JB Pritzker responded to the realities of the coronavirus pandemic by issuing an executive order suspending the in-person registration requirement. The order superseded the law’s stipulation that people register for online sports betting accounts in-person for the first 18 months at least.

While he rescinded that order in July, it went back into effect in August and stayed that way until April of 2021, when he failed to renew his executive order. Illinois sports bettors must visit a casino or racetrack to complete registration.

Online sports betting got off to an interesting start in Illinois in 2020. For now, here are the apps available in the state:

  • BetRivers
  • DraftKings Sportsbook
  • FanDuel Sportsbook
  • PointsBet
  • William Hill

All are available for people in Illinois to place wagers. As major sports start to get back underway in the US, additional Illinois sports betting apps are sure to come online. For now, the options for Illinois residents include:

Bonuses

Get up to $1,050 in bonuses, which includes a $50 free bet

Features

Offers a live match tracker and custom betting carousel

DraftKings Sportsbook

DraftKings Sportsbook inked a deal with the Casino Queen in East St. Louis in order to offer sports betting in the state; right now, sportsbooks must partner with a land-based entity to offer mobile wagering. You can currently register your account from anywhere in the state but will need to visit the physical DraftKings at Casino Queen to verify your account before you can place bets online.

DraftKings has been one of the early leaders in the rapid expansion of US sports betting as it has launched online sportsbooks in a number of states.

Read our full review of DraftKings Illinois

Bonuses

Up to $1,000 in risk-free bet

Features

Easy-to-use in-play betting feature to stream live games

FanDuel Sportsbook

FanDuel launched an online sports betting app in the summer of 2020 as well thanks to a deal with Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria. After looking like it may stay on the sidelines for a while, FanDuel quickly moved to launch and take advantage of the ability to sign up bettors remotely.

FanDuel is the top sportsbook in the country in terms of revenue and wagers taken.

Read our full review of FanDuel Illinois

Bonuses

New players receive up to $2,000 in bonuses with deposit

Features

Provides a rewards program for regular sports bettors

PointsBet Sportsbook

PointsBet became the fourth app to launch in Illinois when it opened for business in September 2020. The Australian sportsbook opened its doors thanks to a partnership with Hawthorne Race Course, one of Illinois’ three racetracks.

PointsBet is unique in the sports betting landscape thanks to its signature product, the Points Bet. Players bet on an established mark, like a point spread or total, but are rewarded or penalized according to the distance the actual score is from the estimate.

Read our full review of PointsBet Illinois

Bonuses

Up to $250 bonus with your first deposit

Features

Features a 1x playthrough requirement for bonuses

BetRivers Sportsbook

The first sports betting app in Illinois came from Rush Street Interactive, which is the online arm. Would-be bettors have to go to Rivers Casino Des Plaines near Chicago to register their BetRivers accounts under state law, although that is suspended by executive order at the moment.

BetRivers already offered online sports betting in a number of states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Read our full review of BetRivers Illinois

Features

App provides live notifications on upcoming events and bets settled

William Hill Sportsbook

One of the most ubiquitous sportsbooks in the legal US market started up its app in Illinois in time to take advantage of wagering during football season. The William Hill platform features bonuses and offers competitive with the other mobile IL sports betting apps.

Latest IL sports betting news

Illinois sportsbooks and casinos

Illinois has 10 riverboat casinos, seven of which have obtained licenses to operate sportsbooks thus far. There are also three racetracks, all of which have submitted applications but not yet received approval from the Illinois Gaming Board.

Only two sportsbooks ended up opening in March 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic suspended sports and closed casinos around the country, delaying the rest.

Up to seven sports facilities, such as Wrigley Field and Soldier Field, have the opportunity to set up sportsbooks at or within five blocks of their arenas and stadiums.

Here’s a look at where you can or soon will be able to go to bet on sports in Illinois.

PropertyOperatorOpening date
RiversRush Street GamingMarch 9, 2020
ArgosyPenn NationalMarch 12, 2020
Grand VictoriaWilliam HillAugust 3, 2020
DraftKings at Casino QueenDraftKingsAugust 5, 2020
Par-A-DiceFanDuelAugust 28, 2020
Harrah's JolietHarrah'sTBD
Harrah's MetropolisHarrah'sTBD
Hollywood AuroraPenn NationalTBD
Hollywood JolietPenn NationalTBD
JumersDelaware NorthTBD
Arlington ParkChurchill DownsTBD
Fairmount ParkN/ATBD
HawthornePointsBetTBD

Argosy is a popular destination for being just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, MO. The casino is one of three in Illinois operated by Penn National. The sportsbook features 36 television screens, 14 self-serve wagering kiosks and five teller windows.

Address: 1 Piasa St., Alton, IL 62002

Telephone: 800-711-4263

Sportsbook Hours: TBD

Penn National’s Hollywood Casino launched its sportsbook in August 2020. The retail sportsbook remains in the name of the casino for now and the sportsbook app will be branded as Barstool Sportsbook when it launches later in 2020.

Address: 777 Hollywood Blvd., Joliet, IL 60436

Telephone: 888-436-7737

Sportsbook Hours: Monday-Thursday 11a-1op; Friday 11a-midnight; Saturday 10a-midnight; Sunday 10a-11p

DraftKings purchased Casino Queen and rebranded both the casino and sportsbook. Its East St. Louis location could be a hindrance to accessing the Chicago market if Gov. Pritzker’s suspension of the in-person registration requirement ends.

Address: 200 South Front Street, East St. Louis, Illinois 62201

Telephone: 800-777-0777

Sportsbook Hours: Open daily at 9 a.m.

Rivers led the way by opening the first sportsbook and the first sports betting app in Illinois. Rivers has an ideal location, near downtown Chicago and O’Hare International Airport. The BetRivers sportsbook includes a 47-foot-wide ultra HD LED video wall, five betting windows and 30 sports wagering kiosks.

Address: 3000 S. River Road, Des Plaines, IL 60018

Telephone: 888-307-0777

Sportsbook Hours: 10 a.m. to midnight, 7 days a week.

IL sports betting basics

Luckily for Illinois bettors, it’s relatively to get started betting at legal sportsbooks in the state. Originally, bettors had to visit a sportsbook to start a sports betting account; that requirement has been waived for now.

So how do you get started at an Illinois sportsbook app? Here are the basic steps:

Get Started

How to start betting in Illinois

Download a sportsbook app. Sportsbooks almost always have an app for iPhones and Android phones. Follow the directions on the site for getting an app (or apps) on your phone (or tablet).

Start an account. Downloading an app gets you started. But once you’ve done that, you need to register before you can do much else. You’ll need to provide the sportsbook with your basic information such as your name, address, and the last four digits of your Social Security number to verify you are who you say you are as well as that you are of legal age to bet in Illinois (21).

Deposit funds into your account. The registration process is usually pretty quick. The last step before you can actually bet is funding your account. You’ll need to add money via a payment method that is authorized at your sportsbook of choice.

Payment Methods

Banking options at Illinois sportsbooks

Every sportsbook allows different methods for depositing, but here are some of the most common:

  • Online banking
  • Pre-paid cards
  • PayPal
  • PayNearMe
  • Credit and Debit Cards
Bonus Types

Information about bonuses at Illinois sportsbooks

As companies race to acquire bettors in the early days of Illinois sports betting, you’ll see a number of aggressive offers designed to help the sportsbooks carve out significant marketshare early on.

That should benefit bettors, who will see a number of ways to get free money or bets, including:

  • First deposit bonus match: 

Money available to bet that matches the amount of a deposit; subject to playthrough requirements.

  • Risk-free bets

Sportsbooks will let you place a bet. Win and you win your bet; lose, and you get credit on the app to wager with equal to your bet.

  • No-deposit bonus

Free money given to a bettor just for signing up. The money must be wagered before it can be withdrawn.

  • Odds boost

Improved odds on certain bets that are in the favor of the bettor.

In-game wagering available on apps

Live Betting

Innovations in online sports betting mean you can now place wagers on games as they occur. This is known as either in-play or live betting.

It works on mobile devices, and certainly adds interest while you are watching a match. The odds will update in real-time as the action unfolds – and you place bets in the usual way.

Some sportsbooks will offer early bet redemption, also known as cash-out betting.

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How Illinois sports betting compares to other states

Illinois joined the sports betting industry in 2020, launching both retail sportsbooks and online betting.

Tax rates, licenses and size of markets

How does Illinois compare to New Jersey and Indiana?

Illinois was not part of the first wave of states to roll out legal sports wagering that started in 2018, but it differs in some important ways. While there are a variety of states that offer online sports betting, we’re going to compare Illinois to two key markets: New Jersey, which is the biggest state for sports betting activity right now, and neighboring Indiana.

  • Online betting options in Illinois: Illinois has only online sports betting, which is the same as Indiana, although both have physical casinos. New Jersey has online poker and casino on top of online sports betting, which has helped to grow the online gambling industry as a whole in the state. Indiana and Illinois have both at least considered legalizing other forms of online gambling.
  • Who gets sports betting licenses: Existing gaming licensees can get sports betting licenses in all states, although Illinois has a wrinkle. While casinos and racetracks can get sports betting licenses and then operate online betting statewide, sports facilities can also offer sports betting within five blocks of the venue. A partnership between DraftKings and the Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field is an example. In Indiana, casinos are the licensees, while in New Jersey both casinos and racetracks get licenses.
  • Number of online sportsbooks: Illinois has still not reached capacity for online sports betting apps, but the number of sportsbooks should eventually be in the double digits. New Jersey has more than 20 operators and Indiana has more than ten, numbers that should grow in both states.
  • Size of the industry: Illinois is the largest state to have legalized online sports betting, at least until California, Florida, Texas or New York join the party. That means it could easily become the largest market in the US in the not too distant future. New Jersey is the biggest state for sports betting right now. Indiana benefited from launching before Illinois did, and was able to attract bettors from Chicago as a result. Illinois is already a larger sports betting industry than Indiana, despite the comparatively late start (Indiana went live in 2019).
  • Tax rates: Illinois has a tax rate on gross sports betting revenue that is in the middle ground of states around the US of 15%. NJ taxes revenue on several different factors, ranging from 8.5% to 13%. Indiana taxes revenue at 9.5%.
IL betting options

Most popular sports to bet on

The sixth-most populous state in the US, Illinois has a good mix of successful and popular teams in every major sport. It’s one of the few states where there’s a legitimate argument as to which is the favorite team. And even when the teams don’t win, the fans are faithful and they’re characters.

  • NFL betting in Illinois

The Chicago Bears only have one NFL playoff appearance in the past decade, and yet they’re still probably the most popular team in the state in any year that one of the teams below isn’t winning a championship. Their last Super Bowl championship was in 1985 when coached by Mike Ditka, but to die-hard fans, Da Bears can do no wrong.

  • MLB betting in Illinois

Illinois residents have a love-hate relationship with the Chicago Cubs, but they love them even when they hate them. In ending more than a 100-year drought and breaking the curse of the billy goat by winning the 2016 World Series, the Cubs captured the attention of a state the way few teams in the country can.

More than 5 million people attended the championship parade. Also, Wrigley Field is a mecca where every baseball fan wants to go to attend a game at least once in their life.

The Chicago White Sox are usually an afterthought to the Cubbies, except in 2005 when they captured their first World Series title in 88 years.

  • NBA betting in Illinois

Michael Jordan put the Chicago Bulls in the argument for most popular team in the state during his 13 years and six NBA titles with the team in the ’80s and ’90s. But the ‘Last Dance’ was more than 20 years ago and the Bulls have only made it past the conference semifinals once since.

  • NHL betting in Illinois

The Chicago Blackhawks are the most successful team in the state in recent times, winning three Stanley Cups in the past 11 years. However, they’ve faded to the back of the pack by not making the playoffs for three consecutive seasons.

DFS

Illinois and daily fantasy sports

Although the legality of daily fantasy sports in Illinois is murky, leading DFS websites such as DraftKings, FanDuelYahoo and Fantasy Draft operate in the state.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan opined that DFS constitutes illegal gambling under state law in late 2015.

Fantasy sites that continued to operate in the state got some validation in April 2020 when the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that some DFS is based on skill and therefore not illegal gambling.

Illinois has had many failed legislative attempts to regulate DFS dating back to 2015, including an early attempt to make it part of the sports betting legislation that passed in 2019.

Revenue & Handle

Illinois sports betting revenue

Illinois should end up being one of the largest sports betting markets in the US in terms of amount wagered and revenue generated.

Why? Population. It’s the largest state that has legalized online sports betting.

The early start for remote registration of sports betting accounts has helped to kickstart the online betting industry to hundreds of millions of dollars in handle. By 2021 it could overtake New Jersey, currently the leader among states in terms of total money wagered.

More on Illinois’ results alongside US sports betting revenue here.

Illinois sports betting history

The future of sports betting

Despite some of the hurdles the state created for the growth of sports betting in Illinois, the state is on track to become one of the biggest markets in the nation, if not the biggest.

We should see more sportsbooks coming to Illinois in the coming years, as its status in 2020 as the biggest state with online betting will make it attractive — if not a mandatory state — for any operator.

It’s not clear who will gobble up the online-only licenses, but it’s unlikely we’ve seen the only competitors enter the market.

2020

2020: In-person registration ends

Illinois sports betting experienced a wild ride in this year. Legal sportsbooks in IL opened right before the initial spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Pritzker lifted the in-person signup restriction in May, allowing bettors to sign up safely for sports betting apps from home.

Pritzker then abruptly rescinded the order a month later, only to reinstate it weeks before the start of football season. That allowed multiple sportsbooks to launch IL sports betting apps in the ensuing weeks to take advantage of their opportunity in one of the most promising markets in the country.

2020

2019

2019: Pritzker signs the sports betting bill into law

Gov. J.B. Pritzker called for the legislature to legalize sports betting by including revenue from it in his budget proposal. However, for much of the 2019 legislative session, IL sports betting legislation made little progress.

Rep. Mike Zalewski started off the efforts by introducing H 3308, which got multiple committee hearings. In one such hearing, five proposed amendments were introduced showing what direction different stakeholders wanted to take the bill.

Zalewski whittled those options down to two amendments in May. With it becoming apparent that there was the political will to push for sports betting legislation, Zalewski introduced what he said would be the final product for sports betting in Illinois at the end of the month.

The bill was not well-received by the industry. It included unprecedented fees and delayed online sports betting for a year and a half.

In a crazy final week that saw the vehicle for the sports betting bill change several times as it ended up being put in with a larger gaming expansion and finally tied into the governor’s $41 billion capital improvements planRep. Bob Rita took over the negotiations.

Rita’s big assignment was working out a compromise between the state’s leading casino Rivers and out-of-state sportsbook leaders DraftKings and FanDuel. Rivers chairman Neil Bluhm wanted the state to prohibit them from entering the Illinois sports betting market for three years as punishment for offering daily fantasy sports in the state under questionable legal circumstances.

They settled on not letting out-of-state companies to get their own licenses until after 18 months, when three online-only licenses become available for $20 million. Before then, all online sports betting apps must be connected to a brick-and-mortar property in Illinois.

Rita also capped the amount casinos would pay for an initial sports betting license at $10 million, lowered the tax rate to 15% and added an official league data mandate on in-play wagers to appease professional sports leagues.

With the Democrat-led legislature wanting to answer the call of their new Democrat governor, the legislature passed a bill to legalize sports betting on the final day of the session. Pritzker signed the bill into law on June 28.

2019

2018

2018: Interest in regulated sports betting grows

Illinois lawmakers first expressed interest in legalizing sports betting in 2018, introducing five bills. But the efforts were more of an exploratory nature.

Rep. Lou Lang introduced the first Illinois sports betting bill in January. The Legalization and Regulation of Sports Betting Act was just five lines long.

Sen. Don Harmon followed with a bill in the upper chamber. It was notable that Harmon, the Senate President pro tempore, took an interest in sports betting. But his Sports Betting Consumer Protection Act didn’t even seek to legalize sports betting. It tasked the Illinois Gaming Board to decide to authorize or prohibit sports betting.

Three more bills followed. The most noteworthy was from Sen. Napolean Harris, a former NFL linebacker. Harris’ bill was the first one in the state to include an integrity fee and other concessions sought by lobbyists for professional sports leagues.

2018

IL Sports Betting FAQ

Yes. The first legal sports bets in Illinois were taken in March 2020 and multiple casinos offer sports betting.

Yes, you can bet online from anywhere in the state for the time being. The governor temporarily waived the in-person registration requirement as a response to the coronavirus.

Anyone over the age of 21 can legally bet on sports in Illinois.

Offshore sportsbooks that serve customers in IL violate a number of federal laws and state laws. While bettors might not get in trouble for placing a bet an offshore site, all of them do so illegally.

Two casinos opened sportsbooks and one Illinois sports betting app launched so far in 2020, but more are expected soon. You currently can sign up for a sports betting account from anywhere within the state.

Yes, as long as you’re physically located within the state’s borders. You cannot place a bet from Indiana, Wisconsin, or any neighboring state although you can register for an account with an address in those places.

Sports betting in Illinois is regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board.

Yes, Illinois has a long history with horse racing and horse betting. Illinois currently has three racetracks — Arlington International RacecourseFairmount Park, and Hawthorne Race Course.

Hawthorne is the oldest continually run family-owned racetrack in the US, opened in 1891. With the track based in Cicero, notorious gangster Al Capone often attended races in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Parimutuel wagering was legalized in Illinois in 1927.

There are also many off-track betting facilities in the state, and the tracks and OTBs are eligible to offer sports betting in Illinois.

Illinois allows its residents and visitors to bet horse races online at sites such as TwinSpires, TVG and BetAmerica.

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