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 – now including the Fighting Illini! As of December 17, 2021, wagering on college teams and events that occur in-state will no longer be prohibited in the state of Illinois. You’ve come to the right place for all the news about sports betting in Illinois.
Top Illinois Sportsbook Promo Codes and Bonus Offers
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.
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 operators are offering opportunities to take advantage of welcome bonus packages which include deposit matches, bonus bets, and more.
- Launch: June 18, 2020
- Retail Partner: Rivers Casino Des Plaines
- Tech Partner: Kambi
- Online: Yes
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 will be required to register in person at the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines until March 5, 2022. First mover status was put into place to give the BetRivers sportsbook app a decided leg-up on the competition.
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.
- Launch: August 5, 2020
- Retail Partner: DraftKings at Casino Queen
- Tech Partner: SBTech
- Online: Yes
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.
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 offers a fantastic online wagering experience.
- Launch: August 28, 2020
- Retail Partner: FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing
- Tech Partner: IGT
- Online: Yes
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 & 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 at the time. 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 deposit matches and bonus bets are often available too – adding significant value. When picking a sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook should be toward the top of your list.
- Launch: September 12, 2020
- Retail Partner: Hawthorne Race Course
- Tech Partner: Banach Technology
- Online: Yes
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.
- Launch: Wednesday, March 9, 2022
- Retail Partner: Grand Victoria Casino
- Tech Partner: Liberty
- Online: Yes
Caesars Sportsbook is the result of the acquisition of William Hill, one of the world’s most recognizable sportsbooks, in early 2021. Caesars killed the William Hill brand in August 2021, but kept William Hill’s Liberty 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.
- Launch: November 14, 2023
- Retail Partner: N/A
- Tech Partner: PENN
- Online: Yes
The highly anticipated ESPN BET has arrived and it’s officially live in Illinois and 16 other states. ESPN BET has partnered with PENN Entertainment to launch a new online sportsbook along with embedding gambling insights into their ESPN produced content. ESPN BET will enhance the overall sports gambling experience by combining live scores, news and betting all in one application.
- Launch: March 5, 2022
- Retail Partner: N/A
- Tech Partner: IGT
- Online: Yes
No sports betting market would be complete without BetMGM’s services. The sports betting giant took its time but finally arrived in Illinois on March 5, 2022 through an online-only license.
- Launch: TBD
- Retail Partner: New American Place Casino
- Tech Partner: Stadium Technology
- Online: Yes
Circa Sportsbook excited a lot of pro players when it announced its intention to come to Illinois. Big bettors like Circa for its very high limits and willingness to accept almost any wager. Everyone else will like Circa for its wide variety of markets and exceptional online betting experience.
- Launch: TBD
- Retail Partner: N/A
- Tech Partner: TBD
- Online: Yes
In a move that surprised everyone, Caliente Interactive announced in May 2022 that it was also planning to enter the Illinois market. This was surprising because Caliente, a popular Mexican sportsbook, has no presence in the US. The launch date is still TBD.
- Launch: TBD
- Retail Partner: TBD
- Tech Partner: Kambi
While not live just yet, Unibet was slated to offer mobile sports betting as one of the skins for the Sportsbook at Argosy Casino, but has reportedly halted their plans due to the in-person registration requirement that expired in March 2022.
- Launch: TBD
- Retail Partner: TBD
- Tech Partner: Bet.Works
Bally’s Corporation dipped their toe into the Illinois sports betting landscape by purchasing Jumer’s Casino & Hotel from Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment back in June 2021. The newly renamed Bally’s Quad Cities casino likely sets up an Illinois launch for Bally Bet at some point in the near future.
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.
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 set up 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 previously involved in the mobile betting business. This move allowed bettors to place bets with DK by August 2020, long before the 18 month ban was supposed to expire.
Likewise, FanDuel Sportsbook linked up with an existing in-state casino in Fairmount Park, and residents were able to legally bet with them just a few weeks later. FanDuel Group made a significant investment in Fairmount Park, rebranding into their very own FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing in an effort to revitalize the historic track.
While DraftKings and FanDuel are already spoken for, it remains to be seen what else will transpire once the 18 month ban is officially lifted on March 5, 2022. Players can expect a much wider range of mobile betting apps to choose from along with the ability to sign up from home.
Getting Started with Illinois Online Sports Betting
In order to engage in Illinois sports betting you have to be at least 21 years or older. This goes for both brick-and-mortars 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 legal 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.
When the state of Illinois first legalized sports betting, there was a clause involved that would prohibit bettors from placing wagers on any of the local college sports teams. Furthermore, any collegiate game or event taking place within the state of Illinois would also be off-limits, even if the two teams competing were from out of state.
Due to this rule, Illinoisians were unable to wager on their favorite local college teams for the better part of their legal betting lifespan. This is no longer the case.
As of December 17, 2021, Illinois sports bettors can wager on any collegiate game or event regardless of whether or not it involves a team from Illinois. Bettors will also be permitted to wager on any in-state events that involve two teams from elsewhere, such as Wisconsin vs Notre Dame at Soldier Field back in September 2021. Governor J.B. Pritzker’s decision to sign and approve this legislation should ultimately prove to be a smart one.
Outside of any legal restrictions, Illinois online sportsbooks are also required to not accept bets from banned individuals, or those that have self-excluded.
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 bonus 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. PayPal has been around forever, is reliable, and can be used for both depositing money and cashing out from your sports betting account.
Credit/Debit Cards – Traditionally, it’s 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 it’s time to cash out.
ACH / eCheck – All you need is an online bank account to use the ACH transfer / eCheck option. They move money fast, and are often one of the preferred choices for both bettors and sportsbooks as they allow you to both deposit and withdraw funds.
Play+ Prepaid Card – Considering most banks have restrictions in place that limit customers from funding their sports betting accounts, Play+ prepaid cards are extremely important to have at your disposal. Play+ prepaid cards act as a middleman between the player’s bank and the sportsbook, allowing them to upload funds without any sort of restrictions. Once loaded onto your Play+ account, money can be easily transferred into your sports betting account balance. Players who sign up for a Play+ prepaid card will also receive a physical copy of the card in the mail that can be used to withdraw funds via an ATM.
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. Withdrawals are not available via bank transfer, so only deposits can be made using this method.
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 still fairly 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 just 2 eligible race tracks in the state, after Arlington Park Racetrack was sold to the Chicago Bears and permanently closed down on September 27, 2021. 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:
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 (Chicago 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.
Although no dates or timelines are currently available, both Wrigley Field and the United Center have been cleared and confirmed to be adding a sportsbook to their venue as soon as legally possible. Wrigley Field will be working with DraftKings as their in-house betting provider, while the United Center agreed to terms with FanDuel. It has been noted that there is a strong possibility that Guaranteed Rate Field is up next, with hopes to bring sports betting to the South Side.
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 opened across the state. Now that casinos are back open for business, Illinois bettors can place their action at any of the following venues listed.
|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|
|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||September 30, 2020||PointsBet|
|Bally's Quad Cities||TBD||Bally's|
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 already implemented 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 over the internet. Once you’re in the casino, it’s 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, bonus 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, and the same can be said about 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 of sophistication and popularity. In 1921, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and seven teammates were found not guilty of conspiring to throw the World Series but still ended up being banned from baseball. At about the same time, the National Prohibition Act had just been implemented and we began to see 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. By 1999, they would be allowed 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 weren’t far behind, launching in August 2020.
On December 17, 2021, Gov. J.B. Plitzker officially signed, sealed, and delivered House Bill 3136, a new piece of legislation that would no longer prohibit Illinoisians from betting on local college teams. From that point forward, all Illinois-based college teams, games, or events will be listed on all of the sportsbooks in the state.
Saturday, March 5, 20220 marked the end of the original 18-month probationary period imposed by the state government in an attempt to slow down some of the bigger players like DraftKings and FanDuel. The law ended up accomplishing nothing, as both books found loopholes to enter early anyway. As a result of this, Illinois bettors would be forced to register for all online sports betting apps in person, at a physical casino or racetrack until further notice.
When Governor J.B. Pritzker officially signed House Bill 3136 into law at the end of December 2021, it was announced that players would no longer be required to register for sportsbooks in person. Beginning on March 5, 2022, players will be allowed to register for any sportsbook fully remotely, from the comfort of their own home, if they choose to do so.
Keep this page in mind for all your future Illinois sports betting news and online sports betting updates!