Illinois Online Sports Betting

Whether you’re a fan of the Cubs, White Sox, Bears, 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. 

Top Illinois Sportsbook Promo Codes and Bonus Offers

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  • $250 Match Bonus
  • Great Promos
  • IN, PA, CO and IL
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2
  • Use Promo Code GRINDERS
  • Name Your Own Bets
  • NJ, IN, IL and IA
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3
  • Deposit Match Up To $500
  • First Bet Matched up to $500
  • NJ, PA, IN, WV, CO, IA, and IL
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  • $1000 Risk-Free Bet
  • Beginner Friendly
  • NJ, PA, IN, WV, CO and IL

Governor J.B. Pritzker officially signed the Illinois sports betting bill into law on June 28th, 2019 and just under nine months later, the industry went live on March 9, 2020. The first legal wager in Illinois was placed at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. 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 was able to open the Illinois online sports betting market on June 18th.

Here’s everything you need to know about legal sports betting in Illinois.

Online Registration Now Available

If you have been following the on-again, off-again registration saga in Illinois over the past few months, it may seem a little complicated. To cut to the chase: you may now sign up and bet completely over the internet.

Illinois originally chose to require in-person registration for online sports betting accounts. This means that you could create an account with the Illinois online sportsbook of your choosing, but you first had to visit that site’s brick-and-mortar partner and place your initial bet in-person before you were allowed to wager freely over the internet. This in-person requirement was intended to remain in effect for the first 18 months of online betting in the state, which would have expired around December 2021.

In light of global events, IL Governor J.B. Pritzker rolled back the in-person requirement by executive order, effective August 21, 2020. The order is currently scheduled to stay in place through September 19th. We’ll keep you posted.

Online Sportsbooks in Illinois

Attention Illinois sports fans: the following online sportsbooks have already hit the market in Illinois, and are now offering legal sports betting to users around the state. Make sure to cash in on the available welcome bonus packages which include deposit bonuses, free bets, and more.

Online SportsbookLand Based PartnerLaunch Date
BetRiversRivers Casino June 18, 2020
DraftKings SportsbookDraftKings at Casino QueenAugust 5, 2020
FanDuel SportsbookPar-a-Dice CasinoAugust 29, 2020
PointsBetHawthorne Race CourseSeptember 12, 2020
William HillGrand Victoria CasinoSeptember 15, 2020
BetAmericaArlington Park RacetrackTBD
Barstool SportsbookHollywood Casino AuroraTBD
Caesars SportsbookHarrah's MetropolisTBD
Delaware NorthJumer's Casino Rock IslandTBD

BetRivers

  • Launch: June 18, 2020
  • Retail Partner: Rivers Casino Des Plaines
  • Tech Partner: Kambi

BetRivers was the first retail and online sportsbook to offer sports betting in the state of Illinois. While it’s possible to register in-person at the Rivers Casino Des Plaines, bettors from across the state are now invited to get in the action via online sign up. First mover status gives BetRivers a decided leg-up on the competition. Customers will enjoy a solid mobile sports betting app, stellar desktop interface, and plenty of betting options.

BetRivers is one of the most popular casino/sportsbooks, both retail and online, in states like Pennsylvania, and looks to continue its dominance on new frontiers like Illinois.

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  • $250 Match Bonus
  • Great Promos
  • IN, PA, CO and IL

DraftKings Sportsbook

  • Launch: August 5, 2020
  • Retail Partner: DraftKings at Casino Queen
  • Tech Partner: SBTech

It’s been a long road for DraftKings Sportsbook in Illinois. Due to the proposed in-person registration requirement and limitations on “online-only” operators, the odds were against them. However, DraftKings will find a way.

The company secured a partnership agreement with the Casino Queen East St. Louis, and officially opened for business on August 5th, 2020. It was the second online sportsbook to launch in Illinois. For those around St. Louis, a DraftKings retail sportsbook is also available on site. The entire retail casino has now 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. They are active in a rapidly increasing number of states and offer a fantastic online wagering experience.

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  • Deposit Match Up To $500
  • First Bet Matched up to $500
  • NJ, PA, IN, WV, CO, IA, and IL

FanDuel Sportsbook

  • Launch: August 29, 2020
  • Retail Partner: Par-A-Dice Casino
  • Tech Partner: IGT

FanDuel continues its expansion throughout the regulated online sports betting world through a partnership with the Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria. In addition to gaining Illinois sports betting market access in the state, FanDuel has also established an in-person sportsbook at the casino.

FanDuel Sportsbook went live in the state of Illinois on August 29, 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 promotions like risk-free wagers, and other free bets are often available too – adding significant value. You can’t go wrong with FanDuel Sportsbook.

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  • $1000 Risk-Free Bet
  • Beginner Friendly
  • NJ, PA, IN, WV, CO and IL

PointsBet

  • Launch: September 12, 2020
  • Retail Partner: Hawthorne Race Course
  • Tech Partner: PointsBet

PointsBet, which already operates sportsbooks in states like New Jersey and Iowa, was one of the first online operators to commit to the state. It announced in July 2019 that it would bring its premium online sportsbook to Illinois in conjunction with the Hawthorne Race Course. As a part of the 20-year agreement, PointsBet covers Hawthorne’s online presence, in addition to sponsoring its retail sportsbook at the Chicago-area race track. Online betting began on September 12, 2020.

Aussie-based PointsBet 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.

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  • Use Promo Code GRINDERS
  • Name Your Own Bets
  • NJ, IN, IL and IA

William Hill

  • Launch: September 15, 2020
  • Retail Partner: Grand Victoria Casino
  • Tech Partner: William Hill

William Hill is one of the most recognizable names in sports betting throughout Europe. Founded in 1934, William Hill now has more than 1,500 different in-person betting locations in the U.K. alone, plus a leading online product. The company first crossed the Atlantic in 2012, getting involved with retail wagering in Nevada. William Hill now offers online sports betting in a number of states, Illinois included.

The site officially went live in Illinois on September 15, 2020. William Hill operates in the state through an agreed licensing partnership with the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, IL. A William Hill retail sportsbook is also available on-site at the northwest Chicago location.

Escaping the Penalty Box

For a time both DraftKings and FanDuel, the two largest names in the DFS industry-turned sportsbooks, were going to be late to the IL party. In Illinois, the two were placed in what many described as a penalty box. Casino owners within the state 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 the penalty box term at 18 months. 540 days after the first master license was awarded, which happened in June ’20, the state will begin receiving applications from “online-only” bookmakers. It will take them an additional 90 days to vet the applications, and award the three permitted online-only licenses.

However, DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook had no intention of serving the full sentence, or forking over the lofty $20 million online fee designed just for them. As mentioned above, 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 accepting bets by August 2020.

Likewise, FanDuel Sportsbook linked up with an existing in-state casino, and was accepting wagers of their own just a few weeks later. While the online-only sports betting licenses still exist, we’ll have to wait 18 months and 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 casinos in the state. 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. BetMGM is also likely to enter the market.

Expect most major online sportsbook operators to compete for their piece of the Illinois online sports betting pie.

Getting Started with Illinois Online Sports Betting

Age

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. 

Location

You have to be in the state of Illinois to place a bet on sports. Illinois online 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.

It is not, however, required for bettors to be Illinois residents. Those visiting, or simply enjoying a nice layover at O’Hare, are welcome to sign up and make a wager.

Restrictions

While wagering on professional leagues around the world is no problem, there are some restrictions when it comes to collegiate betting. In fear of student-athletes becoming targets of those trying to influence action, it is not legal to wager on in-state college teams. Thus the Illini, Northwestern, DePaul, Illinois State, etc., are all off-limits.

In addition, Illinois online sportsbooks will not accept bets from banned individuals, or those that have self-excluded.

Registration

As we touched on earlier, thank’s to Gov. J.B Pritzker’s executive order you can now sign up and bet entirely over the internet. Check the table above for a full list of active Illinois online sportsbooks.

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.

Regulation

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.

Banking Options

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.

Cash Transactions

  • PayNearMe – You may not have heard of it before, but PayNearMe is a really cool service that Illinois sports fans 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. 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:

Betting Kiosks

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-lottery hybrid.

Sports Venues

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 that includes stadiums like Wrigley Field (Cubs), Soldier Field (Bears), and the United Center (Bulls).

Participating Illinois sports stadiums will be able 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 taking bets.

Casino / TrackRetail LaunchAffiliation
Rivers Casino Des PlainesMarch 9, 2020BetRivers
Argosy Casino AltonMarch 12, 2020Penn National
Grand Victoria Casino ElginAugust 3, 2020William Hill
Queen Casino East St. LouisAugust 5, 2020DraftKings
Par-A-Dice Casino East PeoriaSeptember 10, 2020FanDuel
Hawthorne Race CourseTBDPointsBet
Hollywood Casino AuroraTBDPenn National
Hollywood Casino JolietTBDPenn National
Harrah's MetropolisTBDHarrah's
Harrah's JolietTBDHarrah's
Arlington Park RacetrackTBDChurchill Downs Inc.
Jumer's Casino Rock IslandTBDDelaware 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%.

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, they may not be convenient to get to. Online sportsbooks and mobile 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.

Promotions

Simply put, there’s more value while sports betting 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 betting you can scout the live odds, 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:

1800s: Illinois was home to unlicensed riverboats and the riffraff drawn to them. 

1920s:  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.

1979: The Land of Lincoln legislated a state lottery to benefit education.

1986: Licensed charity gambling was OK’d.

1990s: 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.

2000s: 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.

2019: Governor J.B. Pritzker officially signed SB0690 into law on June 28, 2019, legalizing Illinois sports betting.

2020: The first regulated sports bets were placed in the state! Rivers 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 obstacles, both DraftKings and FanDuel weren’t far behind.

Keep this page in mind for all your future Illinois online sports betting news and updates!

(Chicago Cubs Photo: Patrick Gorski/USA TODAY Sports)

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