Illinois Sports Betting
IL Sports Betting Sites: The Best Illinois Has to OfferSports betting is now legal in Illinois, both online and at retail sportsbooks, after a lengthy and controversial negotiation process involving lawmakers, gambling operators, and other stakeholders. Currently, the Illinois sports betting market is the fourth largest in the US.Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law the Illinois Sports Betting Bill in mid-2019, but it wasn't until 9 months later that the state's first legal wager was placed at the Rush Street-owned Rivers Casino Des Plaines.Three months later, in June 2020, BetRivers Sportsbook became the first online sports betting platform to go live in the Prairie State, with other online/mobile sportsbooks launching not long after that.Today, the Illinois sports betting market boasts over 11 retail and six online/mobile sportsbooks, with a long list of sports wagering mobile apps expected to follow suit. However, with so many sportsbooks out there, it can be tricky to know which sports betting platform is the perfect one for you to try out first.It is for that reason we've rounded up our shortlist of the best Illinois sports betting apps and sites so that you can score the best bonuses, best odds, and best markets, all in a single spot. You'll learn how IL sportsbooks compare based on various factors, from deposit and security to bet types and betting markets.This page provides you with up-to-date information on bonus offers, changes in gambling legislation, new sportsbooks, and everything you need to know about Illinois sports betting.
Can You Place Sports Bet Online in Illinois? Absolutely!Online sports betting has been legal, save for a few restrictions, in Illinois since June 2020 when BetRivers sportsbook launched. That came a whopping nine months from when the legislature passed the Illinois sports betting bill, which was subsequently signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker in June 2019.The new gambling law essentially allowed for statewide online and retail sports betting at off-track wagering parlors (OTP), racetracks, casinos, sportsbooks, and venues that host professional sports in the state.The road to the legalization of online sports betting in Illinois has been long and mired in a ton of controversy. Even so, sports betting through mobile apps and online platforms is now fully legal in the Land of Lincoln thanks to a combination of legislation:
- In the 1920s, when the Prairie State legalized betting on horse racing events held at in-state racetracks
- The 1990 Riverboat Gambling Act allowed operators to run commercial casino gambling on riverboats, as long as they're located outside of two regions: i) counties with 3+ million people and ii) Lake Michigan.
- The 2009 legislation allows local bars, pubs, and other entertainment venues to host lottery/gaming terminals backed by the Illinois State Lottery.
- The 2018 US Supreme Court decision to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). Essentially, the ruling gave individual states the mandate to pass their own casino gambling and sports betting laws.
- The June 2019 signing into law of the sports betting bill by Gov. JB Pritzker
- Executive Order 2020-41 from the governor's office temporarily suspended the mandate for in-person registration for online and mobile sportsbooks. The reinstatement of the in-person registration requirement took place in April 2021
Complete Guide to Illinois Sports Betting Websites OnlinePlacing sports bets via authorized online sportsbooks and mobile apps has been legal since mid-2020, thanks to the Illinois sports betting bill passed in 2019.Like retail sportsbooks, Illinois sports betting websites and mobile apps offer a variety of bet types, betting markets, and odds across many different sports and sporting events.To wager online at a regulated online sportsbook, you’ll have to sign up for a betting account and complete the registration in-person at a participating land-based casino.You may be asked to verify yourself and confirm your address by uploading a scanned copy of your state-issued photo ID, bank statement, or utility bill. For security purposes, you may need to confirm your identity by providing the last four digits of your SSN.Once your new sportsbook account has been verified and approved, you can deposit funds into it via various payment methods. Illinois sports betting platforms' most common deposit methods include credit and credit card, PayPal, ACH, wire transfer, and online banking transfer.You can also deposit cash at the sportsbook's land-based partner casino or select convenience stores via the PayNearMe service.Before you are able to place a bet, the sportsbook site or app must confirm and track your location at all times. The operator usually has a geolocation technology to ensure that you're registering or betting within the state borders.All in all, Illinois sports betting is accessible via mobile sportsbook apps, desktop browsers, mobile browsers, and retail sportsbooks. You’ll be able to claim a fantastic selection of sports betting bonuses that include free bets, welcome bonuses, VIP rewards, and rebates.
Why Should You Gamble Online at Illinois Sports Betting Platforms?Today, pretty much everything can be done on the internet, and that includes wagering on your favorite sports markets. More and more Illinoisans are flocking to digital sportsbooks and apps to bet online rather than at a retail sportsbook — and for a good reason:
- Gambling convenience at its bestRecent reporting shows that more than two-thirds of adults in Illinois place at least one bet in their lifetime, and it's easy to see why. Some people bet for the fun of it, some to enjoy the thrill of winning, and others do so for the social element of betting.Whatever the reason, sports betting can be an excellent form of entertainment, especially when done in moderation. Online sports betting takes that excitement to the next level.It doesn't matter if you live a few miles from your nearest land-based casino; the truth is the majority of retail sportsbooks cannot compete with the convenience that online sports betting sites and apps have to offer. They can offer no-hassle betting, super-fast deposits, and a dizzying array of sports betting options you won't find in a land-based setting.Bettors across Illinois can log into their wagering accounts from anywhere within the state and use any mobile device, providing unfettered access to the best in online sports betting. With that, you can place real money bets at a place and time to suit your preference and needs.All online sportsbooks currently operating in Illinois have optimized their mobile betting experiences, so check them out and download their top mobile apps for iOS and Android.
- Free bets and humongous bonusesOnline sports betting platforms in Illinois provide new customers with lucrative sign-up bonuses. These welcome incentives give bettors hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in free betting money for simply choosing to sign up with them.It all starts with no deposit bonuses that give you the opportunity to start betting on your favorite sports on the house. You may also receive free bets, credits to use on certain sporting events, deposit bonuses, rebates, cash back, and more, which help you build out your bankroll and win real cash with minimal risk.
- Talk about variety!When it comes to the Illinois sports betting market, online sportsbooks rule because they offer a massive variety of wagering options. If online casino gambling is approved, some of these sites may have online poker rooms, bingo, and casinos attached to the sportsbook.The real magic happens when it comes to choosing what sports and sports markets to wager on. Online sportsbooks offer more choice than you can ever dream about, including big football matches, tennis, baseball, basketball, soccer, UFC, MMA, motorsports, and hundreds of other sporting actions.
- Impregnable securityAll Illinois sports betting apps and sites adhere to the strictest security protocols. Regulated sportsbooks are required to put in place a number of security measures that include 128-bit or higher SSL encryption to protect your funds and personal data.In addition to that, the operators contracted third-party testing labs to audit their sportsbook software before they go live. Auditors ensure that a sports betting app and site's software and payouts are precise and always in tip-top condition.
- Easily switch between different sportsbookNot feeling that you’re a good fit with a particular sportsbook? No problem – Illinois sports betting market boasts several sportsbooks that you can switch between if you choose to bet online.
- Early cash out and live bettingRetail sportsbooks operate using traditional sports betting kiosks and platforms. Once you have placed your bet, that's it until the final whistle.Online sportsbooks and apps take sports betting to a whole new and innovative level with early Cash-Out and Live Betting features. The cash-out function allows you to close out your bets early for a guaranteed profit or minimize your losses if things aren't going your way.
Illinois Sports Betting Bonuses Offered OnlineRewards, bonuses, and promos start rolling in the Illinois sports betting market from the moment you create and verify your sportsbook account. New customers are usually greeted at the virtual door of the sportsbook with a sign-up bonus, which can be worth hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in betting cash.Not only that, top online Illinois sportsbooks now offer a basket filled with bonus offers for existing and new bettors alike. These bonuses come in many different shapes and sizes.As the list below depicts, specific promotions and bonuses are geared towards different types of players for various reasons. For instance, a sign-up offer differs from a reload bonus in that the welcome bonus is designed to attract new customers, while the other is about encouraging bettors to keep betting and making deposits.Illinois online sportsbook bonuses come in a number of different types that include:No deposit bonuses: This is inarguably the best kind of sportsbook promotion you can use to enhance your betting experience. You can claim and use the bonus cash without having to deposit a dime. The only downside is that these bonuses are aimed exclusively at new customers to entice them to sign up for a sportsbook wagering account.Welcome bonus: A sign-up bonus is a welcome offer geared exclusively towards new bettors signing up with the sportsbook. The bonus money you get will come with certain terms & conditions tied to it. You may be required to place a qualifying wager or make a minimum deposit.Deposit match bonus: This type of bonus offer is usually tied to or part of the welcome offer. The amount of bonus money you receive will vary depending on your deposit size and preset bonus percentage. The bonus cash you can claim is usually capped – for instance, you can claim a 100% match bonus up to $1,000 on your first deposit.Free bets: In the Illinois sports betting market, the sign-up bonus is typically awarded in the form of free bets. In this type of bonus, the sportsbook offers you a chance to make one or several free bets worth a certain amount. There are three common types of free bets offered by Illinois online sportsbooks:
- No-risk free bets
- Only-win free bets
- Any-win free bets
- DraftKings at Casino Queen Sportsbook
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- PointsBet Sportsbook
- Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill
- BetMGM Sportsbook
- DraftKings at Casino Queen
Illinois Sports Betting AppsWhen it comes to mobile sports betting, you will be spoilt for choice in the Illinois market. Whether you prefer to place bets on Android, iPhone, or tablets, mobile sportsbook apps offer smooth navigation, great graphics, and best of all, you can bet anywhere.
- FanDuel Sportsbook IL
- DraftKings at Casino Queen Sportsbook
- BetMGM Illinois Sportsbook
- Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill
- BetRivers Sportsbook
- Barstool Sportsbook
- PointsBet Sportsbook
Quick Glossary of Illinois Online Sports Betting TermsIf you want to conquer the world of Illinois sports betting, it is important to learn the lingo. Here are the most common terms you will likely hear or come across:Wager – This refers to either the action of betting or the bet itself. For instance, you could say, "I will bet on the Indianapolis Colts to win the game."Action – It refers to what you have bet on a particular game. For example: “Do you have any action on Saints vs. Falcons, bro?” “Of course, I have $100 on Falcons to carry the night.”Underdog – Sometimes known just as the dog or puppy, the underdog is the team, contestant, or player thought to be weaker, and therefore, unlikely to win the contest, game, or competition.Favorite – This is the stronger contestant, team, or player likely to win the game, match, contest, or competition. "Houston Texans have lower odds because they're the favorite."Total – The combined number of goals, points, or runs scored by both teams during a match or contest. For instance: “The total for the Lakers vs. Celtics game is 236”.Under – A bet that the total runs, points, or goals scored by both teams will be below a specified number.Over – A wager that the total runs, points, or goals scored in a game by both teams will exceed the specified figure.Spread – Also known as Point Spread, the Spread is the number of points given to the underdog to even out its odds against the favorite team. For example: "Kansas City Chiefs are predicted to beat the Chicago Bears with a -6 spread."Cover – It refers to the act of a team scoring enough points to account for the point spread. For instance: “Is New York Nicks strong enough to cover the spread?”Line – Typically in plural Lines, referring to the odds provided by the sportsbook to the bettor on a given market.Odds – The chance of a team or contestant winning as set by the bookmarker and adjusted to include the profit. Long odds are usually higher than 10 to 1, while short odds are generally less than 1:1.Lay odds – To place a wager on terms that favor the other side, which could end up winning more than you wagered.Lay the points – To bet the favorite by giving up pointsShut out – When the losing team fails to score at all. It is also what happens when you try to place a wager once the action has closed. “I was shut out from the Falcons game.”Push – A tie game in which the stake is returned.Money line – A wager on the winner of a game, contest, or event without adjustment for point spread odds.Prop bet – Proposition bet (prop bet) is a unique betting type in which you can wager special and various events. These bets can be on entertainment, politics, and sports events, and the payoff odds are usually given in the money-line format.Margin – The number of points by which the winning team finishes ahead of the losing team.Best Sportsbooks in IllinoisIllinois sports betting market is already massive and continuing to grow. Wondering where you can place sports bets in the Prairie State? Wonder no more!Choosing the best Illinois sports betting platforms should involve a careful screening process. We know there is a broad variety of sportsbooks to choose from, and we are here to help you find the very best.That’s why we have put together a comprehensive list of the top sportsbooks in Illinois, including both retail sportsbooks and online sports betting platforms.
Best Online Sportsbooks in IllinoisLet’s kick off our list with the top operators of Illinois sports betting sites and apps. Our shortlisted online sportsbooks offer you everything from generous odds and top bonuses to a wide array of sports and betting markets.
1- DraftKings Sportsbook Online
- Operator/Owner: DraftKings
- Land-based Casino Partner: DraftKings at Casino Queen
- Launch Date: August 5, 2020
2- PointsBet Sportsbook
- Operator/Owner: Carey Family
- Land-based Casino Partner: Hawthorne Race Course
- Launch Date: September 12, 2020
3- FanDuel Sportsbook
- Operator/Owner: William Stiritz and Associates
- Land-based Casino Partner: FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing (Fairmount Park)
- Launch Date: August 28, 2020
4- BetRivers Sportsbook
- Operator/Owner: Rush Street Gaming
- Land-based Casino Partner: Rivers Casino Des Plaines
- Launch Date: June 18, 2020
5- Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill
- Operator/Owner: Caesars Entertainment
- Land-based Casino Partner: Grand Victoria Casino
- Launch Date: August 3, 2021
6- Barstool Sportsbook
- Operator/Owner: Penn National Gaming
- Land-based Casino Partner: Hollywood Casino Aurora
- Launch Date: March 11, 2021
- Unibet Sportsbook: The European-born Unibet recently obtained an online sports betting license through a partnership with the Penn National-owned riverboat casino, the Argosy Casino Alton. The new sportsbook’s launch date is yet to be made public.
- BetMGM Sportsbook: The 50-50 joint venture between MGM Resorts International and UK-based Entain is also poised to enter the Illinois sports betting market soon. The top gambling brand already operates online sportsbooks and casinos in multiple states, including New Jersey. The timeline for the launch of the BetMGM sportsbook in Illinois is uncertain as of writing. What we currently know is that it will offer its sports betting services in partnership with Par-A-Dice Casino East Peoria.
- Bally's Sportsbook (presumably Bally Bet): Projected to launch sooner than the rest, Bally’s Sportsbook will be partnered with Jumer's Casino Rock Island and run by Bally’s Corp.
- William Hill Sportsbook: If the news going round in the Illinois gambling space is to be believed, then William Hill Sportsbook will launch in partnership with Harrah's Metropolis and Harrah's Joliet. Both establishments are Caesars Entertainment properties.
- TheScore Bet Sportsbook: There are also rumors that TheScore sportsbook will launch in Illinois soon in partnership with the Caesars-owned Harrah’s Joliet Casino.
- Fox Bet Sportsbook: Already up and running in New Jersey, Michigan, Colorado, and Pennsylvania, Fox Bet is bound for the Illinois sports betting market. The sportsbook is a joint venture between Fox Sports and The Stars Group (the operator of the famous PokerStars). It is expected to launch in early 2022.
Best Retail Sportsbooks in IllinoisIf you prefer to get your sports betting fix from a brick-and-mortar sportsbook, you won't be disappointed by what you'll find in Illinois. There are a total of 11 retail sportsbooks in Prairie State, with most of them operating betting kiosks across multiple locations.
1- DraftKings at Casino Queen Sportsbook
- Address: 200 S. Front St., East St. Louis, IL 62201
- Telephone: 618-874-5000
- Sportsbook Operating Hours: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Mondays to Fridays; 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays
2- Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill at Grand Victoria Casino
- Address: 250 S. Grove Ave., Elgin, IL 60120
- Telephone: 847-468-7000
- Sportsbook Operating Hours: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to midnight on Fridays; 9 a.m. to midnight on Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays
3- BetRivers Sportsbook at Rivers Casino
- Address: 3000 S. River Road, Des Plaines, IL 60018
- Telephone: 847-795-0777
- Sportsbook Operating Hours: Open 9 a.m. to midnight, every day
4- FanDuel Sportsbook at Par-A-Dice Casino
- Address: 21 Blackjack Blvd., East Peoria, IL 61611
- Telephone: 309-698-7711
- Sportsbook Operating Hours: 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays
5- Sportsbook at Argosy Casino Alton
- Address: 1 Piasa St., Alton, IL 62002
- Telephone: 618-474-7500
- Sportsbook Operating Hours: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., daily
6- FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing
- Address: 9301 Collinsville Road, Collinsville, IL 62234
- Telephone: 618-345-4300
- Sportsbook Operating Hours: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to midnight, on Saturdays, and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., on Sundays
7- PointsBet Sportsbook at Hawthorne Race Course, Stickney IL
- Address: 3501 S. Laramie Ave., Stickney, IL 60804
- Telephone: 708-780-3700
- Sportsbook Operating Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., on Saturdays and Sundays
8- PointsBet Sportsbook at Club Hawthorne, Crestwood
- Address: 13148 Rivercrest Drive, Crestwood, IL 60445
- Telephone: 708-489-4700
- Sportsbook Operating Hours: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 1 a.m., on Fridays and Saturdays
9- PointsBet Sportsbook at Club Hawthorne, Prospect Heights
- Address: 1250 S. River Road, Prospect Heights, IL 60070
- Telephone: 847-537-3043
- Sportsbook Operating Hours: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to midnight, on Fridays and Saturdays
10- Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino Joliet
- Address: 777 Hollywood Blvd., Joliet, IL 60436
- Telephone: 815-744-9400
- Sportsbook Operating Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., on Mondays; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., on Saturdays and Sundays
11- Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino Aurora
- Address: 1 W New York St, Aurora, IL 60506
- Telephone: 630-801-1234
- Sportsbook Operating Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily
Deposit Methods for Illinois Sports Betting VenuesBeing able to make safe, fast, and secure deposits is crucial to any sportsbook. The best Illinois sports betting venues offer a well-balanced range of methods for depositing funds into your wagering account.You should expect to see several debit & credit cards, ACH e-checks, and bank transfers accepted, as well as more modern methods like mobile and electronic wallets. You should also take a closer look at deposit processing speeds to ensure that you won't have to wait too long for funds to appear on your bankroll.The most common deposit options you will see in the Illinois sports betting market include:
PayPalPayPal is one of the most trusted, most popular, and oldest e-wallets, especially among the next generation of digital bettors. It works great on both online and mobile devices. Transferring funds into your online sportsbook using PayPal is secure, fairly anonymous, and the process itself is a breeze.
VISAVisa-branded cards are the most used type of debit and credit card accepted by Illinois sportsbooks, and it is the most readily accepted mode for payment at the majority of retail sportsbooks. However, you might run into transactional errors and other hiccups when trying to fund your online sportsbook using Visa credit cards.
MasterCardMasterCard credit and debit cards are a secure, quick, and simple way to move money into your online sports betting wallet. Luckily, MasterCard cards are accepted at most online sportsbook sites and apps, as well as retail betting shops, as a method of depositing money to your gaming account. They rarely carry any additional fees.
American Express (AMEX)Amex is another popular and one of the most trusted credit cards in the sports betting world. You should expect to see secure & safe transactions, not to mention upped deposit limits when using an American Express branded card.Deposits made using an Amex card are usually processed instantly or within a couple of minutes. The deposit process is typically straightforward and familiar to most bettors who shop online, plus you can deposit using your mobile device. Unfortunately, Amex is not as readily accepted by sportsbooks as other credit card brands like Visa and MasterCard.
DiscoverDiscover Card is another type of credit/debit card that is generally popular among bettors. They are relatively easier to acquire and equally effortless to make a deposit with. When it comes to processing Discover card deposits, it is usually fast, secure, and safe, with transactions clearing in seconds.
ACHAn abbreviation for Automated Clearing House, ACH is a special type electronic check payment system that bridges your checking/savings bank account with your sportsbook account. When making an ACH deposit, you must enter your bank account number and routing number, as well as furnish your driver's license number. From our experience, the deposit experience is fast, hassle-free, and fee-free.
Credit CardsCredit cards are still the most used method of funding online and retail sportsbook accounts in the Illinois sports betting market. Almost all operators accept MasterCard and Visa credit cards, while some accept account funding via credit cards from American Express, Discover, Diners Club, JCB, and those issued by credit unions.
Skrill and NetellerIf your credit/debit card is declined when you’re trying to deposit funds into your sportsbook account, Skrill, Neteller, and Paysafecard present a viable alternative. They are more anonymous, safer, and more secure than ACH and bank cards, after all. However, some of these electronic wallets may charge a small fee.Skrill and Neteller are a great option if you are hesitant about using your bank account details or credit/debit cards for gambling transactions. Processing is quick, and the funds should reflect on your bankroll immediately.
Wire TransferMost online sportsbooks will allow bettors to deposit funds into their gaming accounts via wire transfers from their bank accounts. This is an excellent funding method for high-stake bettors who wish to move large sums of money. Unfortunately, you may include a small fee for the transfer. It is probably not a suitable method of making small to medium-sized deposits, particularly when the sportsbook already accepts ACH e-checks.
PayNearMePayNearMe is a cash-depositing method of funding your online casino or sports betting account. It's a smarter choice than e-wallets, bank cards, and ACH, especially if you're a little skeptical of funding your online gambling or betting activities via your bank account or credit cards.You can deposit into your wagering wallet with cash at any participating local store, including CVS Pharmacy, 7-Eleven, Walmart, ACE Cash Express, Casey's General Store, and Family Dollar locations statewide. If you have a PayNearMe account, you can even complete the whole depositing process online.For most bettors, the first step is to generate the cash code that you can use to make a cash deposit. Once the teller has finalized the transaction, the funds should be present in your wagering account within 15 minutes.
Cash at the Casino CageAs with PayNearMe, you can also deposit with cash at the land-based partner casino of your sportsbook. You can even do it yourself using the self-serve terminals found at most retail sportsbook locations throughout Illinois.To execute a cash deposit at the casino cage, be sure to bring your state-issued photo ID and note your sportsbook account details.
Prepaid CardsIf you are not comfortable carrying cash, prepaid cards present a safer and more convenient alternative. You can upload funds onto your prepaid card/online account and use it to deposit at an online sportsbook where it is accepted.Play+ is a popular kind of online prepaid card account that is accepted by a growing list of sportsbooks, including BetMGM, Caesars by William Hill, DraftKings, and PointsBet. You can use the prepaid card or account to move funds in either direction.Multiple credit card companies and credit unions offer prepaid cards, too, and they function in the same way traditional credit cards do. Some of the sportsbooks in the Illinois sports betting market offer their own branded prepaid cards, including DraftKings. You can purchase and use them as gift cards to make sportsbook deposits.
Bank TransfersA bank transfer is simply that. Illinois sports betting sites and apps allow bank transfers, in which money is sent from your checking account to the sportsbook’s appointed account. Unlike ACH echeck transfers, no clearinghouse or intermediary is used here, minimizing chances of data leakage and fraud.
Brief History of Illinois Sports BettingThe road to the first sports bet in Illinois has not been exactly smooth sailing. It was a long, controversial, and eventful journey packed with legal wrangling and too many to-and-fros. Here’s a quick timeline of major happenings since the Illinois sports betting bill was signed into law:June 2019: Gov. JB Pritzker signs on the dotted line of the Illinois Sports Wagering Act. The new law includes a provision that would block out prospective internet-only operators for a period of 18 months. The same law prohibits betting on events involving local college and high school teams while allowing state sporting venues to apply for retail sportsbook licenses.March 2020: Rivers Casino accepts the first-ever sports wager in Illinois, but all casinos shut down soon after that due to the coronavirus pandemic.June 2020: BetRivers Sportsbook, in conjunction with its land-based partner Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, launches the first legal online sportsbook in the Prairie State. At the same time, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker issued an executive order temporarily waiving the requirement of in-person registration for online sportsbooks, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.August 2020: DraftKings becomes the second operator to launch an online sportsbook in Illinois, soon followed by its arch-rival FanDuel in a close third. They used a loophole in the new sports wagering law to circumvent the 18-month moratorium by partnering with brick-and-mortar gambling facilities Casino Queen and Fairmount Park, respectively.September 2020: The Chicago Cubs and online sports wagering company DraftKings announce that they would establish a retail sportsbook at the famous Wrigley Field. In the same month, PointsBet and Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill became the 4th and 5th operators to launch online sportsbooks in the Land of Lincoln.December 2020: The IGB releases figures showing that the Illinois sports betting handle for the month is $491.7 million, marking the highest revenue raked in by the sportsbooks.February 2021: Preliminary figures show that Illinois sports betting operators received over $45 million worth of Super Bowl wagers.March 2021: Barstool launches in Illinois, becoming the 6th sportsbook to do so. Meanwhile, the IGB announces that Illinois sportsbooks posted the highest mark for any month since 2019 by taking in around $633.6 million in sports betting handle. At the same time, the Illinois sports betting handle passes the $2-billion mark.April 2021: Gov. JB Pritzker reinstated the in-person registration requirement for online sportsbooks, with a significant portion of Illinoisan adults having received the Covid-19 jab.June 2021: Sporting venues in and around Chicago reopen to full capacity.September 2021: Churchill Downs and the Chicago Bears come to an acquisition agreement for the historic horse racing track, Arlington International Racecourse.October 2021: Illinois lawmakers passed a bill that would end the mandatory in-person registration for online sports betting on March 5, 2022. The same bill would allow wagering on state college teams as long as you place the bet in person.
How to Choose Your Next Illinois Sports Betting VenueWith more and more sportsbooks making a foray into the Illinois sports betting market, our mission is to help you find the one that is perfect for you. Here are top factors to keep in mind to ensure that the Illinois sports betting venue you choose is worthy of your time and money:
- Is it safe and secure?You should sign up with only reputable sportsbooks that offer the industry’s highest security and banking standards. When doing your research, you should do a thorough screening and background check, make sure to cover the site’s audit process, certification, and licensing process.Make sure the sportsbook is duly licensed and regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board. Once you have confirmed this, you should look at the site’s and app’s encryption. Do they use the latest SSL encryption to protect your personal details, data, and money?
- Range of sports, betting markets, and bet typesFor one thing, the best Illinois sports betting platforms will cover a broad range of sports. From NBA basketball and NFL football to soccer and even cricket – you should look for a sportsbook jam-packed with options.A sportsbook that covers a wide range of sports markets gets a stamp of approval from us, as well. Some apps make the mistake of featuring hundreds of markets on football alone. You should be able to see odds for all major sports events, as well as markets for worldwide sports like English Premier League, Aussie Rules, and Serie B.We also recommend sportsbooks that cover all the bases when it comes to bet types. Talk about same-game parlays, point spread, totals, prop bets, futures, and live in-game betting.
- Does it offer competitive odds?With several sports betting platforms in Illinois trying to capture your attention, they’re bound to compete on the odds front. That may be bad for them, but definitely a good thing for you. With that being said, you’ll want to assess sportsbooks to see how generous their odds are compared to others.By choosing a sportsbook with competitive odds, you will be certain that you get the best value for your wagers.
- What extra features do they have?You should also keep an eye out for anything extra that the sportsbook may offer, such as early cash-out feature, live streaming service, odds boosts, parlay insurance, build-a-bet, stats hubs, and so on. These are the bonus features that will make betting on sports on their platforms all the more enjoyable and rewarding.
- Is the customer support responsive?This is one aspect of the sportsbook that you shouldn’t ignore. The quality, availability, and responsiveness of the customer service can make or break a sportsbook. So, look at how genuinely helpful the sportsbook’s customer support is – can you get help 24/7?What support channels do they use – live chat, telephone, email, or social media? Do the site and app feature a useful help & support section?
- Check banking options and payout speedsWhen looking for your next place to bet on sports, you should explore the methods for deposits and withdrawals available to you. The operator must cover the most secure and popular methods like credit/debit cards, bank transfers, and ACH, as well as more modern methods like PayPal, Skrill, Play+, and mobile wallets.As a rule of thumb, you want at least one cash-depositing method at your disposal, so expect to see PayNearMe or cash at the cage depositing. Sportsbooks worthy of your time should also offer snappy withdrawal times, so you won’t be left waiting to enjoy your hard-earned winnings. You don’t want to see fees included whenever you make a withdrawal.
- Online, retail, or both?Convenience is a game-changer when it comes to betting on sports. Sometimes you want to take advantage of a newly-reported injury, substitutions, or changes in the lineup, yet the closest retail sportsbook is miles away. At the same time, you might want to pop into a betting kiosk just to say hey to fellow sports bettors.Depending on your betting style, you’d want to choose a sportsbook that’s suitable for you. Even better, you should pick one that offers both retail and online sports betting options.
- Do they offer bonuses and free bets?Bonuses can be the differentiator when choosing between online sportsbooks, and you should be watching for a strong sign-up offer. A sportsbook that rewards your loyalty with free bets, money backs, and cashback can also do wonders for your sports betting experience.In addition to that, you should prefer a sportsbook with features and perks like a VIP scheme, guaranteed odds, odds boosts, and more.
- What is the sportsbook’s mobile betting experience like?Let’s face it; most of the wagers you’ll place will be via a tablet or smartphone. Just like you, the majority of players prefer to bet on mobile apps. That is why you should consider whether the sports betting site is optimized for small screens. Extra points go to sportsbooks with a modern, fully-function mobile app.
What You Should Know About Current Illinois Sports Betting LawHere’s the nitty-gritty of Illinois sports betting law as of writing:
- Sports wagers must be placed at an authorized retail sportsbook, casino, or racetrack, online using licensed sports betting app or website
- You can wager legally on all collegiate or professional sporting events, except for those involving Illinois college teams.
- All Illinois sports betting activities are regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board.
- Sporting venues, casinos, racetracks, and off-track betting shops can apply for a sportsbook license.
- Lottery vendors could also open sports betting kiosks under the regulatory oversight of the Illinois Lottery.
- Any arena or stadium with a 17,000+ seating capacity can apply for IGB licensing to offer sports betting services within a 5-block radius. Technically, that means the United Center, Wrigley Field, and Soldier Field all are eligible for a sportsbook license.
- Daily fantasy sports (DFS) is legal in Illinois following an April 2020 interpretation by the Illinois Supreme Court.
- Only persons aged 21 and older are allowed to bet on sports through authorized sportsbooks.
- In-person registration is required for online sports betting in Illinois
Illinois Sports Betting FAQs
Can you bet on sports in Illinois?Yes! Thanks to the Sports Wagering Act, which was passed and signed into law in 2019, you can legally gamble on sports in the state of Illinois. Both residents and non-residents 21 and older can legally participate in Illinois sports betting. The only exception is that you cannot place bets on events that involve in-state college teams.
What type of odds should I expect to see at sportsbooks in Illinois?In Illinois, sports betting odds are usually expressed as money lines, which are listed as either negative or positive numbers -- they denote the underdog and favorite teams, respectively. Thankfully, most sportsbooks have an odds-type changer on the site or app, allowing you to easily switch between American Moneyline, fractionals, and decimal style of odds.
What types of bets are offered in the Illinois sports betting market?When it comes to Illinois sports betting, there is no shortage of bet types. Here are the most common types of bets you will likely come across:
- Single bet – In this type of wager, you are betting on one selection, leg, or outcome. For instance, you may bet on the LA Lakers to beat the Boston Celtics.
- Parlay – It is sometimes known as an accumulator bet. It is a bet that combines more than one selection or leg into one wager. For instance, you can bet on the Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Cubs, and Colts to win on the weekend.
- Live bet – Also known as an in-game or in-play bet; the live bet is just that. It is a wager made in real-time while the game or match is unfolding.
- Total bet – Sometimes called Over/Under bet, involves betting on the combined amount of points, runs, or goals scored to be below or exceed a figure set by the sportsbook.
- Prop bet – Short for "proposition bet," prop bet is a wager that has nothing to do with the game's outcome. For instance, you can wager on the color of Gatorade that will be poured on the winning coach.
- Futures – A futures wager is a bet you place on an outcome that will result in a long period, such as a month or the end of the season, such as betting the division winners in the NBA.
- Moneyline bets – sports money lines indicate the odds of a team winning a game or contest outright.
Where can you bet on sports in Illinois?
- Land-based casinos and racetracks: A handful of casinos, including Penn National-owned Hollywood Casinos and racetracks in Illinois, operate their own retail sportsbooks.
- Off-track betting (OTB) shops: Club Hawthorne is particularly known for offering sports betting in partnership with PointsBet.
- Betting kiosks: these are typically found inside casinos, racetracks, and near sporting venues
- Online sportsbooks: As of writing, all online sportsbooks must partner with a land-based casino or racetrack for online sports betting in Illinois
- Sportsbook mobile apps: Every online sportsbook has a corresponding mobile app that allows you to wager on sports on the go.
What sports can you gamble on in New Jersey?Betting fans in Illinois enjoy wagering on a wide variety of sports. However, not all sportsbooks offer every sport, and the coverage varies from one sportsbook to the next – and for varying reasons.Before you sign up, you should scroll through the sports menu of a particular sportsbook to see if your favorite sports, sporting event, or sports teams are covered. The most common sports found across the Illinois sports betting space include:
- NFL football
- College football
- NBA basketball
- College basketball
- NHL hockey
- Formula 1 racing
- NASCAR motor racing
- MLB baseball
- PGA golf
- Golf Majors
When did sports betting become legal in Illinois?Sports betting has been legal in Illinois since the passing and subsequent signing into law of the Sports Wagering Act in mid-2019.
What are some of the sports betting restrictions in Illinois?Sports betting is only legal at any licensed and authorized retail and online sportsbook in Illinois.You must place a bet while physically within the borders of the state of Illinois. As such, gambling at an Illinois sports betting platform from outside the state is not allowed. Sportsbooks enforce this rule by using geolocation software.To open a new online sportsbook account, you must complete the sign-up process at an authorized land-based casino facility associated with the sports betting operator.Illinois sports betting operators can’t accept bets on:
- Any K-12 sporting event
- Any minor league sporting event
- Any sporting event that involves a collegiate team from Illinois
- A non-sport event not authorized by the Illinois Gaming Board, such as Academy Awards