Illinois Gambling and Sports Betting News

Latest on gambling, sports betting, lottery and online casino in Illinois

Online sports betting is thriving in Illinois.

Illinois is home to BetRivers, DraftKingsFanDuelPointsBet, Barstool and Caesars by William Hill online sportsbooks. And BetMGM is coming soon.

After several months of mobile registration, Gov. JB Pritzker failed to renew his executive order in April, meaning Illinoisans now must visit a casino or racetrack to finish signing up for a sports betting account.

But that will change soon. Pritzker signed a bill that would make March 5, 2022, the last day of in-person registration. HB 3136 also legalizes wagering on Illinois college teams, albeit with an in-person stipulation.

In 2022, expect to see multiple sportsbook launches and a march toward $1 billion in monthly handle.

Stay tuned to PlayIllinois for the latest gaming news.

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What You Can Bet on Right Now in Illinois

Legal Gambling Options in Illinois

Online Sports Betting

Currently, there are six legal online sportsbooks in Illinois. BetRivers launched in June 2020, thanks to an executive order from the governor. DraftKings and FanDuel followed in August 2020. PointsBet went live in September 2020, while Barstool launched in March 2021. Caesars by William Hill launched in August 2021.

Casinos, lottery outlets, stadiums and racetracks can apply for sports betting licenses. There are three online-only licenses up for grabs as well. We expect other brands, such as BetMGM, Fox Bet and Unibet to offer sports betting via apps and online sometime in 2022.

You can bet on pro sports and all college games. All the popular betting options are available, including parlays, in-play betting on live events and cash-out betting.

Online Lottery

The Illinois Lottery has been running since 1974. Today, you’ll find regular in-state draws and big multi-state prizes such as the Powerball and Mega Millions.

The Illinois Lottery now offers fast play lottery online and at retail locations. You can buy lottery tickets online in Illinois.

Instant-play games are available, many of which are themed. Examples include Deal or No Deal and games featuring local sports teams.

The IL Lottery has several charitable funds that support children, veterans and infrastructure.

Retail Sports Betting

Racetracks, casinos and off-track betting (OTB) offices will be among the venues hosting retail sportsbooks in Illinois. The first Illinois sportsbook opened in March 2020.

There are 11 retail sportsbooks in Illinois located at the following casinos, racetracks and OTBs:

  1. Argosy Casino
  2. Club Hawthorne Crestwood
  3. DraftKings at Casino Queen
  4. FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing
  5. Grand Victoria Casino
  6. Hawthorne Race Course
  7. Hollywood Aurora Casino
  8. Hollywood Joliet Casino
  9. Par-A-Dice Casino
  10. Player’s Pub & Grill
  11. Rivers Casino
Daily Fantasy Sports

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) contests run in Illinois, despite being a contentious legal area.

Major sites, including FanDuel and DraftKings, offer real money picks. Both operators are currently fighting an opinion from the attorney general that DFS contests are illegal gambling.

There have been attempts to regulate and license DFS contests over the last few years, though bills haven’t managed to make it through the legislative process.

Retail and Online Casinos

Illinois will see more land-based casinos eventually, including a new venue in Chicago and five others. Currently, 10 Illinois casinos offer slots, table games and some host poker:

  1. Argosy Casino (slots, table games)
  2. Bally’s Quad Cities Casino & Hotel (poker, slots, table games)
  3. DraftKings at Casino Queen (slots, table games)
  4. Grand Victoria Casino (poker, slots, table games)
  5. Harrah’s Joliet Casino (slots, table games)
  6. Harrah’s Metropolis Casino (slots, table games)
  7. Hollywood Casino Aurora (poker, slots, table games)
  8. Hollywood Casino Joliet (slots, table games)
  9. Rivers Casino (slots, table games)
  10. Par-A-Dice Casino (slots, table games)

The bill SB 690 did not allow for regulated online casinos in Illinois. However, the Internet Gaming Act would bring online slots, online table games and online poker to Illinois. Stay tuned to PlayIllinois for updates on this bill.

The only legal online options are at casinos using sweepstakes gambling laws. These sites operate countrywide and use a virtual currency called “sweeps cash.”

Live and Online Poker Rooms

There are two types of poker in Illinois: retail and charity poker. Three casinos in Illinois offer poker games:

  • Bally’s Quad Cities Casino & Hotel
  • Hollywood Casino Aurora
  • Grand Victoria Casino

The latest bill, the Internet Gaming Act, would legalize online poker in Illinois. Until that legislature passes, the only legal online poker option is Global Poker, which operates under sweepstakes gambling rules.

Illinois Gambling FAQ

Can you play online casinos in Illinois?

Yes, but only online sweepstakes casinos. There are several ways you can gamble in Illinois; however, two exceptions are online casino games and online poker. There is pending online casino legislation but, according to one senator, a passage in 2022 is a long shot.

Is gambling legal in Illinois?

Yes, casinos, horse racing, lottery gambling and charitable gambling have been legal in Illinois for many years.

Bill SB 690 adds online and retail sports betting to this list. Gov. JB Pritzker signed this bill in June 2019. The licensing process is under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Gaming Board. The first batch of sportsbooks went live starting in May 2020.

This bill allows for six more retail casinos in Illinois, including one in Chicago. The number of gambling machines in the state will also increase.

Will online casinos open in Illinois, too?

It’s a possibility. On Feb. 19, 2021, State Rep. Bob Rita introduce the Internet Gaming Act, which would bring online slot and table games to the state. Visit PlayIllinois.com for the latest news on this bill.

However, there isn’t legal online casino gaming in Illinois at the moment. Bill SB 690 didn’t include a provision for online casino games.

The only options for online casino games are the nationwide sites that operate legally in the state under sweepstakes gambling laws. Brands include Chumba Casino and LuckyLand Slots.

 

Will online poker launch in Illinois?

Not any time soon. As with casino games, online poker was not included in the current legislation. There is a sweepstakes site, Global Poker, that will legally offer online poker games in Illinois.

Are offshore sportsbooks legal or safe?

No, depositing at offshore sportsbooks is a major risk. With legal and regulated online sports betting now available in Illinois, there isn’t any need to risk your money this way.

These books are based in small nations in the Caribbean or Central America, with little oversight. You won’t have anyone to turn to if you have nonpayment or other dispute.

With legal Illinois sports betting, you’ll have a lot of advantages.

These include regular deposit options (following in-person registration) like credit cards or bank transfers, the best odds and range of bets, plus the security of the Illinois Gaming Board to turn to should you need them.

Compare this will need to deposit using bitcoin or expensive prepaid vouchers offshore, and you’ll quickly realize that legal sports betting is the safest option.

What is the legal gambling age in Illinois?

You must be 21 years or older to place a bet legally in Illinois.

What can I bet on in Illinois?

Most forms of gambling are available in the Prairie State, though not all of them are available online. These include:

  • Casino games and slots at retail casinos or online sweepstakes gambling sites.
  • Poker at casinos or charity poker rooms or via sweepstakes gambling.
  • Sports betting online or at retail venues.
  • Lottery games include Illinois-only draws, multi-state draws, scratch cards and online games.
  • Horse racing bets via the pari-mutuel pools, live and online.
  • DFS contests run in IL, though these are the topic of legal challenges.

There are also bingo and draws allowed under charitable gambling regulations.

Do registered users need to visit a casino if in-person registration resumes?

No, if you’ve already registered for an online sportsbook in Illinois, you don’t need to do anything regardless of the state’s mandate at that time. But if the requirement returns, new users will need to visit a casino to sign up.

Resources

How to download a sports betting app

Your first task is to choose from the major brand online sportsbooks that are coming to Illinois. You can take advantage of the free bets and matched welcome bonuses at several to see which interface you like the best.

You can access online sportsbooks in two ways:

  • You can use your web browser, which works on laptop and desktop computers.
  • You can access your favorite sportsbook via your mobile device. For the best mobile experience, downloading the app is the way to go.

Illinois sportsbooks will detect whether you have an Apple or Android device and send you to the Apple or Google Play Store to download the sports betting app.

How to sign up to an online betting account?

All the sports betting brands need your individual information when you register an account.

You’ll find the ways the sites collect this information can vary. When you first visit a website, hit the sign-up button and follow the prompts.

The betting site will ask you to provide a screen name, email, birth date, address, telephone number and the last four digits of your Social Security number.

ID documents aren’t typically a part of the request, though you might need to provide them for additional security screening.

The final stage is to verify at the retail sportsbook associated with the sportsbook brand.

How to fund your sportsbook account

Unlike illegal offshore sportsbooks, you can fund your Illinois gambling account using the same options you use to make online purchases.

You’ll be able to deposit and withdraw safely using any of the following options:

  • Credit or Debit Cards: All sportsbooks allow Visa and Mastercard.
  • Prepaid Debit Cards: In other states, major operators, like DraftKings, have branded prepaid cards. You fund these from your bank (or regular credit card), which allows you to keep keep your gambling bankroll and regular spending separate.
  • Bank Transfers Using ACH: This type of local transfer is also known as e-checks. You can get additional verification, which speeds this up.
  • Bill Pay: Treat sports betting as a utility bill, using bill pay at major banks only.
  • Bank Wires: This method has more significant charges than ACH, though many people who deposit substantial cash use it. Some books accept cashier’s checks and money orders.
  • PayPal: This popular e-wallet lets you keep your bank and online merchants and sportsbooks separate. Alternative brands, including Skrill and Neteller, are available.
  • Cash Payment Options: You can take cash to the cage at the retail casino or use a commercial service like PayNearMe.

Note that legal sportsbooks will ask you to use the same method you used to deposit funds to withdraw (where this is possible), which helps control fraud and money laundering.

Retail sportsbooks in Illinois

Every casino in Illinois and sports arenas in Chicago can apply for a sports betting license. Chicago City Council lifted its sports betting ban in December 2021, which means United Center and Wrigley Field could host sportsbooks, too.

Here are the nine Illinois cities with retail sportsbooks — Chicago could be the 10th in 2022:

  1. Alton
  2. Aurora
  3. Collinsville
  4. Crestwood
  5. Des Plaines
  6. East St. Louis
  7. Elgin
  8. Joliet
  9. Stickney 

Responsible gambling

Responsible gambling programs include all the protections and assistance for those who develop issues with their gaming habits.

Online sportsbooks provide additional tools and assistance to balance the ease of access. While most people gamble for fun and do so safely and responsibly, a small percentage of people have issues.

Responsible gambling features include:

  • Advice on what constitutes problem gambling (a self-assessment quiz).
  • A list of charities’ telephone numbers and websites that offer help.
  • Tools to manage bet and deposit amounts, and time spent on the gambling site.
  • Tools to take a timeout or completely self-exclude.