State of Play in Illinois
Sports Betting in Illinois
Illinois legalized sports betting in June 2019, giving the green light to both online and retail sports wagering. Mobile sports betting apps first launched in the Land of Lincoln in June 2020.
Illinois currently hosts seven different mobile sports betting apps. You can register for a new account, deposit, place bets, and withdraw funds from anywhere within state borders.
An in-person registration mandate came to an end in March 2022. Despite the limitations of that provision, Illinois emerged as one of the top sports betting markets in the U.S. in 2021.
Sportsbooks in Illinois
- Can I bet on college sports in Illinois? Yes, and no, but the no could actually be changing at some point soon. Sportsbooks in Illinois can offer betting on college sporting events, but not on those that feature in-state college teams. This has been a point of major discussion with lawmakers in the state as many look to get that rule changed for good.
- Is DraftKings offering sports betting apps in Illinois? Yes, the DraftKings Sportsbook app is one of the most popular in the state of Illinois. DraftKings partners with the Casino Queen in East St. Louis and there is also a retail sportsbook at the casino.
- Is The Barstool Sportsbook app available in Illinois? Yes, Barstool Sportsbook app is available in Illinois, and it was actually the latest sports betting app to launch. Barstool was able to go live in Illinois in March 2021, just days before the start of the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
- Can I bet anonymously at Illinois legal betting sites? No, this is something that absolutely can’t be done in Illinois. You will have to create a sports betting account before you can wager at any of the sportsbook apps in the state. This registration process has to be done in-person at this time, and you will have to sign in to your account before any wagers can be placed.
- How do I get paid when I win at Illinois legal betting sites? You are going to receive your winnings through the site that you won the money at. Each site will have its own banking operation and you will simply make a withdrawal request to receive the money that is rightfully yours.
Illinois Online Betting
Lawmakers began discussing Illinois online betting in 2018, but bill S 690 in 2019 officially legalized the industry. However, Illinois sports betting apps didn’t launch until 2020 as it took the state a long time to get things in place to launch.
Both retail and online sports betting are legal in Illinois, and betting on both professional and collegiate sporting events is authorized. The one primary provision is that betting on in-state college teams is not allowed at this time.
There is a $10 million licensing fee for operators that apply and receive a sports betting license from the Illinois Gaming Board. In addition, the state taxes gross gaming revenue at 15% for both online and retail sports betting.
The initial Illinois sports betting law gave in-state casinos an 18-month head start on online sportsbooks, placing sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel in the “penalty box.” Three online-only operating licenses will be available in 2022, but forming a partnership with a casino was a way around this rule.
Illinois Sports Betting Key Details
Below are the details of the Illinois sports betting market:
- Legalization Date: June 2019
- Retail Launch Date: March 2020
- Mobile Sports Betting Launch Date: June 2020
- Age Requirement: 21+
- Retail Sports Betting Tax Rate: 15%
- Mobile Sports Betting Tax Rate: 15%
- College Betting Restrictions: Player Props and mobile in-state college betting
Best Illinois Sports Betting Apps
Online sports betting is legal in Illinois, but Illinois sports betting law tethers all online operators to a retail casino. This rule was put in place to keep sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel from competing with state casinos, but both operators found land-based casino partners that allowed them to launch their online sports betting app in the state.
Some of the brands that offer online sports betting in the state partner with Illinois sports teams, in marketing agreements that mirror a nationwide trend. The list of all current Illinois sports betting apps includes:
BetMGM Sportsbook Illinois
While Illinois made online sports betting legal in 2019, BetMGM didn’t launch in the Land of Lincoln until 2022. The Illinois Sports Wagering Act dictated that online-only operators had to wait until 2022 to go live in Illinois, and BetMGM didn’t initially partner with a land-based casino.
An agreement with Par-A-Dice Casino, however, allowed BetMGM to launch in March 2022. The BetMGM launch coincided with the lifting of the state’s in-person registration requirement for a mobile sports betting app account.
While BetMGM holds one of Illinois’ sports betting licenses as a partner of Par-A-Dice Casino, the property’s hosts an on-site retail book under the FanDuel Sportsbook brand.
- Illinois sports fans can see how BetMGM compares to other Illinois sportsbooks in our full review of BetMGM.
BetRivers was the first sportsbook app to launch after lawmakers made sports betting legal in Illinois. Since going online, BetRivers has persisted as one of the most popular choices for Illinois players to bet online.
The BetRivers sports betting license functions in partnership with Rivers Casino Des Plaines. Both the BetRivers and Rivers Casino brands operate under the banner of parent company Rush Street Interactive.
BetRivers functions as an official sports betting partner of the Chicago Bears.
- Check out the Props.com our BetRivers review.
DraftKings Sportsbook Illinois
Another of the most popular online sportsbooks in Illinois, DraftKings Sportsbook partnered with East. St. Louis property Casino Queen in order to enter the IL sports betting market.
The partnership resulted in a rebranding of the entire casino, now known as DraftKings at Casino Queen. Much like every other state in which it operates, DraftKings Sportsbook stands as one of the most popular platforms to bet on sports in Illinois.
DraftKings is the official sports betting and daily fantasy sports partner of the Chicago Cubs.
- Compare DraftKings Sportsbook Illinois with other sports betting apps with our DraftKings Sportsbook review.
Note – the Illinois promo displayed below occasionally changes from DraftKings’ standard deposit match bonus:
FanDuel Sportsbook IL
FanDuel Sportsbook operates two retail sportsbooks in Illinois. The nation’s most popular mobile sports wagering brand operates in the state in a license partnership with a horse racing venue formerly known as Fairmount Park.
The race track is now known as FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing. Like all seven online sportsbooks in Illinois, online sports wagers make up the vast majority of bets that FanDuel takes in the state.
FanDuel Sportsbook Illinois acts as the official sportsbook partner of the Chicago Bulls, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the United Center, the arena that plays home to the Bulls and Blackhawks.
- See how FanDuel Sportsbook Illinois stacks up against other sports betting sites in our FanDuel Sportsbook review.
Note – the FanDuel Illinois Sportsbook bonus included in the link below occasionally changes from FanDuel’s standard $1,000 “No Sweat First Bet” promo:
The PointsBet online sports betting platform puts the unique “PointsBetting” wagering style at the disposal of Illinois bettors. PointsBet entered the Illinois market in a licensing agreement with Hawthorne Race Course.
PointsBet’s Illinois ties also include an official sports betting partnership with the Chicago Bears.
- See how PointsBet Illinois compares to other online sportsbooks with our PointsBet review.
One of the fastest-growing brands in the legal U.S. sports betting industry, Caesars Sportsbook’s expansion into Illinois came as no surprise. Caesars Entertainment owns several land-based casinos in Illinois and neighboring Indiana.
Caesars Sportsbook signed on as an official sports betting partner of the Chicago White Sox in May 2022.
- Compare Caesars Sportsbook IL with other sports betting sites in our Caesars Sportsbook review.
BetRivers was the first online sportsbook app to go live in Illinois, with a solid head start on the competition. BetRivers is a product of Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois, and that casino was outspoken in wanting to keep more prominent operators out of the state.
One slight change in Illinois occurred in 2021 as the William Hill Sportsbook rebranded under the Caesars Sportsbook name. This came after Caesars purchased William Hill’s U.S. assets.
Illinois sports betting apps are available for download on both Android and iOS devices, and geolocation services track whether or not a bettor is inside of state lines.
Registration at an online sportsbook is not limited to residents of Illinois sports bettors. Sports bettors from other states can legally wager at Illinois sportsbooks, as long as they’re located within Illinois state lines while placing bets. Online sports bets accounts for over 90 percent of the Illinois sports betting handle each month.
Top Sportsbook Picks in Illinois
Bonuses At Illinois Sports Betting Apps
All Illinois online sports betting apps offer welcome bonuses. After signing up at a sports betting app or desktop site, and making your first deposit, look for the following bonus types:
A risk-free bet allows bettors to make their first wager with the promise of a refund if the bet loses. For example, FanDuel Sportsbook and BetMGM both offer a $1,000 risk-free bet as a welcome bonus.
The $1,000 risk-free bet means the sportsbooks will refund your first bet if it loses, up to a $1,000 cap. Caesars Sportsbook and PointsBet are among the Illinois sportsbooks that also offer risk-free bets.
Deposit Match Bonus
DraftKings Sportsbook and BetRivers are among the Illinois sportsbooks that offer a deposit match bonus for new players. The DraftKings Sportsbook bonus matches 20% of your initial deposit, up to a max of $1,000 in bonus credit. You would need to deposit $5,000 or more to be eligible for the full $1,000 in bonus credits.
The DraftKings Sportsbook bonus comes with a 25x playthrough requirement, meaning you unlock $1 of bonus credits for every $25 you wager.
The BetRivers bonus comes as a 100% deposit match up to $250, with a 1x playthrough requirement. While the $250 is less than the DraftKings offer, the 100% match and 1x playthrough are much more player friendly.
Retail Sportsbooks Illinois
It’s been a strange journey for retail sports betting in Illinois and got off to a very rocky start. Retail sports betting launched on March 9, 2020, just days before the country shut down most live sporting events in the U.S. due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not only were sporting events canceled, but the retail casinos were closed for several months, leaving bettors without a place to wager. Those retail locations have since opened back up, but online Illinois sportsbooks continue to see most of the action.
Chicago is one of the biggest cities in the U.S., but Illinois sports bettors can’t currently place a bet at a retail sportsbook located in the Windy City. However, Illinois passed a law to allow professional stadiums to offer retail betting.
Here is a list of the current retail sportsbooks in Illinois:
- Argosy Casino Alton
- DraftKings at Casino Queen
- Grand Victoria Casino
- Hollywood Aurora
- Hollywood Joliet
- Par-A-Dice Hotel & Casino
- PointsBet Sportsbook at Hawthorne Race Course
- Rivers Casino Des Plaines
The state offers retail sports betting at off-track betting facilities through PointsBet Sportsbook. There are currently five other locations in Illinois licensed to offer sports betting, but those venues now don’t have a sports betting partner in place.
These five locations are:
- Arlington International Racecourse
- Fairmount Park Racetrack
- Harrah’s Joliet
- Harrah’s Metropolis
- Jumer’s Casino
Are Online Fantasy Sports Sites Legal In Illinois?
The legality of online fantasy sports sites has been an issue throughout the U.S., and that was the case in Illinois as well. At one point, these sites were considered legal, but that all changed in 2020.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan ultimately viewed that online fantasy sports sites violated the Illinois gaming law in 2015. At the time, this opinion stood as a legal decision, and it kept DFS sites from legally accepting players from Illinois.
The state asked the Illinois Supreme Court to weigh in on the topic back in April 2020, and that decision was completely different from Madigan’s views. It ruled that players win some DFS games by skill, and therefore, these were legal to offer.
Lawmakers in Illinois still haven’t passed a law to legalize the DFS industry explicitly, but all of the most important sites are operating in the Land of Lincoln. Since the Illinois Gaming Board does not regulate these sites, the revenue from these games is not taxed, and there isn’t a licensing fee required.
Salary Cap DFS Sites In Illinois
When people think of DFS sites or online fantasy sports, salary cap-style games usually come to mind. This is because DraftKings and FanDuel are the two biggest operators in the industry, and they specialize in these types of games.
DraftKings and FanDuel were actually in trouble in Illinois because they accepted players even when it was illegal. This was part of why they were initially kept out of the sports betting discussion.
A salary cap DFS game requires a user to draft a team of players while staying under a sure salary cap. Players can then enter those rosters into contests on each site, and the bettor can win prize money depending on how that roster performs.
Once the player sets up a sports betting account, users can flip back and forth between the two options. Some other operators offer salary cap DFS games, but DraftKings and FanDuel are the two best options.
Fantasy Player Prop Games
Salary cap games will always be popular in online fantasy sports, but it’s not the only option. There are DFS sites in the industry that have player prop games similar to what prop betting looks like with sports betting.
One popular and new fantasy player prop games site is Monkey Knife Fight. Monkey Knife Fight has deals in place with several professional sports leagues, and it has won awards for how fast it has grown.
There are several different styles of games that a player can find at Monkey Knife Fight or other sites that offer this type of action. However, you won’t find any salary cap games on these sites as they focus on prop betting options without the sportsbook setting odds.
These sites will offer statistical options for players in many different leagues, and players can choose how they want to “bet.” There is an entry fee attached to making a pick, and the payouts are calculated based on the style of the game.
Best Ball Games
Best ball games are still relatively new to the daily fantasy sports world. One site that has become a significant factor in providing these games is Underdog Fantasy.
Underdog is available in nearly every state in the U.S., and it does accept players from Illinois. This DFS game can be daily, weekly, or season long.
The best ball has become so popular because the site takes control of the lineup. Each player automatically receives the ultimate lineup for that contest, and one bad game from a rostered player can’t sink an entry.
DraftKings and FanDuel have both gotten into offering best ball games, and each site will do things differently. This is a way for smaller fantasy sites to specialize in one specific game to attract customers that enjoy playing best ball.
Does Illinois Have Legal Online Poker Sites?
Illinois online poker is still illegal, but the state does not have any strict laws against playing poker at casinos. That is an essential piece of information as it is one less rule to change as the state looks to make this another online gambling option.
Lawmakers introduced a bill for online poker to be legal in March 2021 under the Internet Gaming Act. Both chambers of the General Assembly discussed this specific bill. Still, ultimately lawmakers took no action in 2021.
The success of legal sports betting prompted lawmakers to look at offering online poker sites, but they requested more information. Illinois continues to do studies to decide how much money the state could bring in from online poker sites before moving forward.
There is some pressure on Illinois to move quickly to offer online poker as the state of Michigan now has this form of iGaming. Even though Michigan and Illinois do not share a border, the Chicagoland area does extend close to Michigan.
According to the Internet Gaming Act, online poker would be taxed at a rate of 10%, allowing Illinois to chip away at a budget deficit.
Are Online Casinos Legal In Illinois?
Online casino gambling is another iGaming option that is off-limits in Illinois, and the reasons are similar to that of online poker. This was a hot topic of debate throughout 2021, but there wasn’t enough support to change the current laws.
The Internet Gaming Act discussed online poker sites, but its main focus was online casino gambling. This form of online betting could be launched quickly as several sports betting operators offer online casino apps in other states.
A projection attached to the Internet Gaming Act estimates that Illinois could receive between $75 million and $230 million in annual tax revenue should this become a legal option. This projection caught the eye of lawmakers, and they will bring the bill back up in 2022.
It’s a pretty safe bet to assume that Illinois will legalize online casino gambling at some point. But it’s unclear how quickly the state can do it. Illinois sports betting took longer than expected to launch, and those same issues could cause problems with online casinos as well.
There was a provision in the current bill that would allow the IGB to implement emergency rules to get online casino sites approved and launched quickly. Representative Robert Rita and Senator Cristina Castro co-sponsored the piece of legislation.
Top Sportsbook Picks in Illinois
How Do I Know That Online Gambling Sites In Illinois Are Fair?
The Illinois Gaming Board oversees and regulates all gaming in Illinois, including online gambling sites. This regulation ensures that all gambling sites are fair, or those sites could lose their ability to offer online gambling.
You might sometimes confuse the sites being fair for your inability to win money. However, the odds and lines will be pretty consistent across the board. An online gambling site also won’t survive in this competitive market if it gets a reputation for being unfair.
Who Regulates Illinois Sports Betting?
The Illinois Gaming Board regulates the legal online sportsbook sites. Therefore, any operator wishing to receive a sports betting license will have to apply with the IGB and undergo a lengthy review.
There have been some issues with the time it takes the IGB to approve a license after an application is submitted. In addition, the lack of remote registration has also kept some operators from targeting the Illinois sports betting market and submitting an application.
Why Should I Trust Legal Online Sportsbooks?
There are a few reasons to trust a legal Illinois sportsbook. The biggest reason is that these are legal and licensed both in Illinois and in the U.S.
There is an extra level of safety and security with Illinois sports betting sites, and the IGB will also provide help if needed. In Illinois, online sports wagering is now just as legal as anything else at state-regulated betting sites.
How Do I Get Paid If I Win?
The hope is that you win money at an Illinois sports betting site, but that’s usually the most challenging. You won’t have any trouble getting your winnings, regardless of what online gambling site you are playing at.
To begin receiving a payout, you will need to log in to your online gambling site account. Then, you will make a withdrawal request and select how you would like to receive your winnings.
Most Illinois sports betting sites will have a minimum amount required for a withdrawal. But the money should be available in a couple of days. Depending on the method of withdrawal that you choose, the money could be to you within a few hours.