Illinois Online Sports Betting
Whether you’re a fan of the Chicago Bears, Cubs, White Sox, Blackhawks or Bulls, the Illinois legislature has gone all-in on giving bettors within the state the opportunity to place online sports bets on the home team – well, the professional ones anyway. You’ve come to the right place for all the betting news about Illinois sports and sports betting available in the state.
Top Illinois Sportsbook Promo Codes and Bonus Offers
- Use Promo Code RG2K
- Name Your Own Bets
- $250 Match Bonus
- Great Promos
- $1000 Risk-Free Bet
- Beginner Friendly
- Trusted name
- + $50 Free Bet
- Fantastic Mobile App
- Endless Promotions
Governor J.B. Pritzker officially signed the Illinois state sports betting bill into law on June 28th, 2019 and just under nine months later the industry was able to go live, offering betting in Illinois, including mobile betting, on March 9, 2020. The first legal bet in Illinois after the sports betting bill was passed was placed at BetRivers Casino Des Plaines in March 2020. It wasn’t ideal timing, with the COVID-19 pandemic grinding sports to a halt just a few days later. In spite of the new challenges, BetRivers sportsbook was able to open the Illinois sports betting market on June 18th, almost a year after the sports betting bill was enacted.
Here’s everything you need to know about legal sports betting in Illinois, including betting on mobile apps.
- 1 Top Illinois Sportsbook Promo Codes and Bonus Offers
- 2 In-Person Registration Now Required
- 3 Online Sportsbooks in Illinois
- 4 Getting Started with Illinois Online Sports Betting
- 5 Illinois Retail Sportsbooks
- 6 PASPA Paves the Way
- 7 The Benefits of Online Sports Betting
- 8 Illinois Long Bullish On Gambling
In-Person Registration Now Required
If you have been following the on-again, off-again registration saga about sports betting in Illinois over the past few months, it may seem a little complicated. To cut to the chase: because Governor J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19-related executive order lapsed on April 2, 2021, Illinois bettors can only sign up for online sports betting accounts in-person .
Back in June 2019, Illinois lawmakers and Governor J.B. Pritzker chose to require in-person registration for online sports betting accounts. This means that sports bettors can create an account with the Illinois online sportsbook of their choosing, but, under Illinois law, they first have to visit that site’s brick-and-mortar partner and place a sports wager in person before being able to wager freely over the internet. This in-person requirement will remain in effect for the first 18 months of online betting in the state, which should expire around December 2021.
Online Sportsbooks in Illinois
Attention Illinois sports betting fans: the following sportsbooks/sports betting apps have already hit the market in Illinois, and are now offering legal sports betting on events worldwide to users around the state. Make sure to check out which online-only operators are offering opportunities to take advantage of welcome bonus packages which include deposit bonuses, free bets, and more.
|Online Sportsbook||Land Based Partner||Launch Date|
|BetRivers||Rivers Casino||June 18, 2020|
|DraftKings Sportsbook||DraftKings at Casino Queen||August 5, 2020|
|FanDuel Sportsbook||FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing||August 29, 2020|
|PointsBet||Hawthorne Race Course||September 12, 2020|
|Caesars Sportsbook||Grand Victoria Casino||September 15, 2020|
|Barstool Sportsbook||Hollywood Casino Aurora||March 11, 2021|
|BetAmerica||Arlington Park Racetrack||TBD|
|Caesars Sportsbook||Harrah's Metropolis||TBD|
|Delaware North||Jumer's Casino Rock Island||TBD|
- Launch: June 18, 2020
- Retail Partner: Rivers Casino Des Plaines
- Tech Partner: Kambi
BetRivers sportsbook, owned by Rush Street Interactive, was the first legal retail and online sportsbook to offer in-person and mobile sports betting in the state of Illinois. New users are required to register in-person at the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. First mover status gives the BetRivers sportsbook app a decided leg-up on the competition. Customers will enjoy a solid mobile sports betting app, a deposit match of up to $250, stellar desktop interface, and plenty of ways to bet on sports.
BetRivers casino in Des Plaines is one of the most popular casino/sportsbooks, both retail and online, in states like Pennsylvania, and looks to continue its dominance in new frontiers like Illinois.
- $250 Match Bonus
- Great Promos
- Launch: August 5, 2020
- Retail Partner: DraftKings at Casino Queen
- Tech Partner: SBTech
It’s been a long road for DraftKings Sportsbook. Due to the proposed in-person registration requirement and limitations on “online-only” operators that only offer mobile sports betting, the odds were against them. However, DraftKings Sportsbook will find a way.
DraftKings Sportsbook secured a partnership agreement with the Casino Queen East St. Louis, and officially opened for business in August 2020. It was the second online sportsbook to launch in Illinois. For those around St. Louis, a DraftKings Sportsbook retail establishment is also available on site at the Casino Queen. The entire retail casino is now offering sports betting and has been rebranded as DraftKings at Casino Queen. New users of the DraftKings mobile apps can enjoy a significant deposit match when they sign up.
Simply put, DraftKings Sportsbook is one of the largest, most successful names in sports betting throughout the U.S. DraftKings Sportsbook is active in a rapidly increasing number of states and offer a fantastic online wagering experience.
- + $50 Free Bet
- Fantastic Mobile App
- Endless Promotions
- Launch: August 28, 2020
- Retail Partner: Par-A-Dice Casino
- Tech Partner: IGT
FanDuel sportsbook continues its expansion throughout the regulated online sports betting world through a partnership with the Fairmount Park race track, now known as FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing. In addition, a FanDuel sportsbook has also established an in-person sportsbook at the Par-A-Dice Casino.
As a market-leading sportsbook FanDuel Sportsbook was one of the first to go live in the state of Illinois in August 2020, making it the 6th state of operation for the DFS-turned sports betting juggernaut. Users will find a full betting sheet, easy to use software, an efficient sports betting app, and plenty of ways to deposit/withdraw. Great mobile betting promotions like risk-free wagers, and other free bets are often available too – adding significant value. When picking a sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook should be toward the top of your list.
- $1000 Risk-Free Bet
- Beginner Friendly
- Trusted name
- Launch: September 12, 2020
- Retail Partner: Hawthorne Race Course
- Tech Partner: PointsBet
PointsBet sportsbook, which already operates sportsbooks in states like New Jersey and Iowa, was one of the first online operators to commit to Illinois sports betting. It announced in July 2019 that it would bring its premium online sportsbook, including mobile betting, to Illinois in conjunction with the race course. As a part of the 20-year agreement, PointsBet sportsbook covers the horse racing track’s online betting presence, in addition to sponsoring its retail sportsbook at the Chicago-area race track. Online betting began on September 12, 2020, just in time for fans to bet on the Bears and other NFL football teams.
Aussie-based PointsBet sportsbook is one of the up-and-comers in the online sports betting industry. It offers an elite tech platform, in addition to unique ways to interact with games, like PointsBetting. PointsBetting creates a high risk, high reward way to sweat a game until the final play. Every point matters.
- Use Promo Code RG2K
- Name Your Own Bets
- Launch: September 15, 2020 (relaunched as Caesars Sportsbook in August 2021)
- Retail Partner: Grand Victoria Casino
- Tech Partner: William Hill
Caesar Sportsbook is the result of the acquisition of William Hill, one of the worlds most recognizable sportsbooks, in early 2021. Caesars killed the William Hill brand in August 2021, but kept the William Hill tech to form the new Caesars Sportsbook that we have today.
The site officially went live for betting in Illinois on September 15, 2020, right at the beginning of football season under the William Hill branding, but is now accepting bets via the Caesars Sportsbook. Caesars Sportsbook operates in the state through an agreed licensing partnership with the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin. A William Hill sportsbook is also available on-site at the northwest Chicago location.
Escaping the Penalty Box
For a time both DraftKings and FanDuel sportsbook, the two largest names in the DFS industry-turned sportsbooks, were going to be 18 months late to the IL party. In Illinois, the two were placed in what many described as a penalty box. Owners of Illinois casinos, with the support of then-Attorney General Lisa Madigan, initially petitioned for a three-year ban for the operators, labeling them as “bad actors” due to the belief that their DFS sites were operating illegally within the state, and should be considered gambling.
Legislators took a slightly more lenient approach however, setting an 18 month penalty box term. 540 days, or almost 18 months, after the first master license was awarded, which happened in June ’20, the state will begin receiving applications for sports betting licenses from “online-only” mobile betting bookmakers. It will take them an additional 90 days to vet the applications, and award the three permitted online-only mobile betting licenses. This 18 month delay was meant to give other operators who were not “bad actors” a head start in rolling out their betting operations.
However, DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook had no intention of serving the 18 month full sentence and giving their competitors a head start, or forking over the lofty $20 million online mobile betting fee designed just for them. As mentioned above, wanting to go live as soon as possible, DraftKings arranged a market access arrangement with the Casino Queen East St. Louis (now DraftKings at Casino Queen), who already possessed an Illinois sports betting master license, and was in the mobile betting business, allowing people to place bets by August 2020, long before the 18 month ban was supposed to expire.
Likewise, FanDuel Sportsbook linked up with an existing in-state casino, and residents were able to legally bet with them just a few weeks later. While the online-only sports betting licenses still exist, we may have a lengthy wait to see who takes them… DraftKings and FanDuel are already spoken for.
More to Come
The Barstool sportsbook is also expected to make its way to the Land of Lincoln. Penn National Gaming, which recently purchased a stake in the Barstool sportsbook brand, owns three Illinois casinos. Its Argosy Casino property, located just north of St. Louis on the Mississippi River, is the only one that has currently applied for a sports betting license in order to persuade Missourians to start betting right when they enter Illinois. BetMGM is also likely to enter the market, eager for Illinoisans to legally bet using its mobile platform.
Expect most major mobile betting online sportsbook operators, in addition to Barstool sportsbook, to compete for their piece of the Illinois online sports betting pie.
Getting Started with Illinois Online Sports Betting
In order to engage in Illinois sports betting you have to be 21 years old. This goes for both B+M, and online activity. This is a pretty standard requirement across all of the U.S. states with legalized sports betting.
You have to be in the state of Illinois to place a bet on sports. Illinois sportsbooks will employ sophisticated geolocation software to guarantee that all bettors are physically located within the state. Computers will require a special plugin to satisfy this requirement, while mobile devices will use their built-in GPS chips.
Welcome to Illinois
It is not, however, required for Illinois sports betting enthusiasts to be residents of the state. Those visiting, or simply enjoying a nice layover at O’Hare, are welcome to sign up and start betting right when they enter the state.
While legalized sports betting on professional leagues around the world is no problem, casinos in the state do have some restrictions when it comes to collegiate betting. In fear of student-athletes becoming targets of those trying to influence action on a sports bet, it is not legal to wager on in-state college teams. Thus the Illini, Northwestern, DePaul, Illinois State, etc., college football and college basketball teams are all off-limits.
In addition, Illinois online sportsbooks are required to not accepting bets from banned individuals, or those that have self-excluded.
As we touched on earlier, because Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s executive order has expired, you have to register in-person. Check the table above for a full list of active Illinois online sportsbooks and where you can sign up in the flesh.
When creating an online sports betting account, users are typically prompted to provide a few essential details including their name, address, and social security number for tax purposes.
Keep an eye out for lucrative promotions on registration too, like free bets, to add extra value to your experience.
Sports betting in Illinois is regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board. The Illinois Gaming Board is also responsible for all land based sports betting, video gaming, and casino gambling regulation in the state, and will guarantee Illinois sports fans a safe experience.
Illinois offers many of the same deposit and withdrawal methods that have powered online sportsbooks in other states. They include:
PayPal – A great eWallet for U.S. customers. It’s been around forever, is reliable, and can be used for both depositing money and cashing out from your sports betting account.
Credit/Debit Cards – Its traditionally Visa and Mastercard that lead the way, but some sportsbooks have begun incorporating both Discover and American Express into their repertoire. The more cards available, the better. They’re easy to use (just enter the numbers), and the transactions are instant. Notably, you can’t withdraw with a credit card… so you’ll have to select another method when its time to cash out.
ACH / eCheck – You don’t need a ton of information to use the ACH transfer / eCheck option. They move money fast, and are often one of the preferred choices for both bettors and sportsbooks.
Bank Transfers – Any bank, including the major players and smaller local options alike, that has an online bill-pay function can be repurposed for online transactions. Link your bank account and seamlessly move money to and from your account.
Paper Checks – It’s rare to be able to deposit via check, but some books will offer old school paper checks through the mail as a withdrawal option. It’s not fast, but it does the trick.
- PayNearMe – You may not have heard of it before, but PayNearMe is a really cool service that anyone can use to fund their sports betting account. You start the deposit online, and you then receive a barcode via email. Take it to your neighborhood 7-Eleven, Family Dollar, or CVS, and the cashier can scan it and accept a cash payment right at the register. Any cash you hand over will be available for use online in just minutes.
- Cash at the Casino Cage – Being able to deposit and withdraw in person at the cage of a retail casino is a major perk of the regulated sports betting market in the United States. Since each online sportsbook in Illinois is tied to a retail casino, you can generally visit the site in-person and add money to your account right at the cage.
Illinois Retail Sportsbooks
Brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, like online books, are new to Illinois. Rivers, Argosy Casino Alton, and DraftKings at Casino Queen were the first to officially launch. IL sportsbook bettors are able to wager on sports, in person, at any licensed location. There are currently 10 casinos and 3 eligible race tracks in the state. Also included in SB0690 was the approval for six new casino licenses, one of which is expected to become Chicago’s first inner-city casino. Here are all of the places you can bet on sports:
The Illinois Lottery is entering the sports betting business. State law allows for the Lottery to establish 2,500 sports betting kiosks in the state during the first year of regulated betting. Similarly, an additional 2,500 kiosks may be added in the second year. These kiosks will not be fully functioning sportsbooks though, only offering action on sports betting parlay wagers.
Once the bet has been placed, a ticket is printed. If it wins, the ticket holder can redeem it like they would a lottery ticket at any participating location. Think of them as a convenient Illinois sports betting operator-lottery hybrid.
Illinois also included a stipulation that allows for its prominent sports facilities to operate their own sportsbooks. Any venue that seats more than 17,000 persons, of which there are currently seven in the state, is eligible to open its own sports betting facility on site. For Illinois sports betting purposes that includes stadiums like Wrigley Field (Cubs), Guaranteed Rate Field (Chicago White Sox), Soldier Field (Chicago Bears), and the United Center (Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Bulls).
Under current law, Illinois allows sports stadiums to offer sports betting at, or within a 5-block radius of the venue.
Retail Casinos and Racetracks
Rivers and Argosy Casino Alton were the first sportsbooks to accept legal wagers in Illinois. After a slight COVID-19 related delay, additional facilities like the DraftKings at Casino Queen are now opening across the state. Now that casinos are beginning to reopen we expect all of the following list to begin letting people place bets.
|Casino / Track||Retail Launch||Affiliation|
|Rivers Casino Des Plaines||March 9, 2020||BetRivers|
|Argosy Casino Alton||March 12, 2020||Penn National|
|Grand Victoria Casino Elgin||August 3, 2020||Caesars Sportsbook|
|Queen Casino East St. Louis||August 5, 2020||DraftKings|
|Hollywood Casino Aurora||August 20, 2020||Penn National|
|Hollywood Casino Joliet||August 20, 2020||Penn National|
|Par-A-Dice Casino East Peoria||September 10, 2020||FanDuel|
|Hawthorne Horse Racing Course||TBD||PointsBet|
|Arlington Park Racetrack||TBD||Churchill Downs Inc.|
|Jumer's Casino Rock Island||TBD||Delaware North|
PASPA Paves the Way
In May 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) due to a challenge from the state of New Jersey. This landmark decision opened the door for states beyond Nevada to launch sports betting in the US.
Either through grandfathered laws or newly approved legislation, more than a dozen states, including Illinois and neighbors Iowa and Indiana, have implemented or are poised to begin some form of legalized sports betting.
Taxes and Fees
In Illinois, sports betting license holders are taxed at the rate of 15% of the adjusted sports wagering receipts. This rate is relatively high for the industry. In comparison, neighboring Indiana uses a tax rate of just 9.5%.
Expensive Licensing Fee
When it comes to fees, simply applying for a license warrants a $250,000 payment. If approved, depending on the type of facility, a master sports betting license will run you between $3 – $10 million. That includes casinos, racetracks, and sporting venues. Licenses are valid for 4 years, and can be renewed for an additional 4 years at the cost of $1 million. Those vying for one of the three coveted online-only licenses will be required to pay a steep $20 million license fee.
Fees paid are used to help fund the “Rebuild Illinois” plan, which covers roads, mass transit, bridges, schools, universities, and other important projects within the state.
The Benefits of Online Sports Betting
Now that legal sports betting has arrived in Illinois, you might be asking, what are the benefits to betting online vs. at the casino? Here are just a few reasons why mobile betting takes the cake:
Bet From Anywhere
While Illinois does have retail casinos and sportsbooks with teller windows and sports wagering kiosks, they may not be convenient to get to. Online sportsbooks and mobile sports betting apps bring sports betting to you. You can get involved with sports wagering from your couch, the bus station, the airport, driving on the highway (as a passenger, of course). Have a hunch while out shopping for groceries? You can wager in just moments through a sports betting app.
Simply put, there’s more value using sports betting apps to over the internet. Once you’re in the casino, its unlikely you’re going to leave and place a bet elsewhere… but online, you’ve always got options. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for lucrative promotions like deposit bonuses, free bets, risk-free bets, odds boosts, and more to be on the table. Sports betting is all about the fine margins, and available promo offers can help you widen them.
Bet in Real Time
Online sports betting is faster than its retail partner. In fact, online sportsbooks actually offer live odds, updated on the fly. You can bet on individual plays: who scores the next basket, wins the next point, how a golfer performs on the upcoming hole – all of it. If you attempted to make those bets in-person the odds would change, or the action could complete before you have a chance to reach the cage. With online sports wagering you can do more than just bet on sports: you can scout the live odds, using official league data, and lock it in with just a few swipes of a finger.
Illinois Long Bullish On Gambling
Rome wasn’t built in a day is the cliché, well neither is Illinois online sports betting. The most recent law is the latest in a rich, or not-so-rich, history of gambling in Illinois:
Illinois was home to unlicensed riverboats and the riffraff drawn to them.
Betting on horses was legal and the height sophistication and popularity. In 1921, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and seven teammates were found not guilty on conspiring to throw the World Series but still banned from baseball. About the same time, Prohibition and the rise of Al Capone, Charlie Birger and other gangsters profiting from bootlegging and illegal gambling while battling “untouchable” Eliot Ness.
The Land of Lincoln legislated a state lottery to benefit education.
Licensed charity gambling was OK’d.
Riverboat casinos in 1991 were required to cruise rivers while open then allowed in ’99 to drop anchor with gambling complexes built around them at permanent docks.
In 2001, Illinois was the first state to sell lottery tickets online. In 2009, the state approved the Video Gaming Act but it took two years to implement due to court challenges. To many, the payout hasn’t been worth it. The Casinos Act passed muster in 2011, expanding casinos away from rivers, allowing games offered at pari-mutuel racetracks to include slot machines.
Governor J.B. Pritzker officially signed SB0690 into law on June 28, 2019, legalizing Illinois sports betting.
The first regulated sports bets were placed in the state! Rivers Casino, owned by Rush Street Interactive CEO Neil Bluhm, opened the market with retail betting on March 9th. BetRivers online sportsbook accepted the first online wagers just a few months later on June 18th. Despite the 18 month ban, both DraftKings and FanDuel sportsbook weren’t far behind, launching in August 2020.
Keep this page in mind for all your future Illinois sports betting news and online sports betting updates!
(Chicago Cubs Photo: Patrick Gorski/USA TODAY Sports)