Illinois online casinos have yet to be authorized, but before they are it is important to debunk a number of myths first.
PlayIllinois busts five of the biggest myths about IL online casinos.
Myth #1: Illinois online casinos will cannibalize retail casinos
One of the biggest concerns about allowing online casinos is that gamblers that currently bet in person at retail casinos will simply move their gambling online.
In the gambling world, this is called cannibalization where one form of gambling “eats” the other.
The good news is most evidence proves cannibalization does not occur.
In fact, a major 2022 US gaming study found the opposite: that online casinos augmented retail ones.
The study was produced by GP Consulting on behalf of MGM Resorts which operates both land-based and online casinos. One of that study’s main findings was that gamblers that enjoy going to casinos are largely a different demographic than those that like to wager online.
“If you look at the demographic question, first, you find that these are actually two very different groups of users,” said Dr. Kahlil Philander.
Philander is a noted gaming academic and lead author of the GP/MGM cannibalization study.
“From a sociological level, people who are regular casino goers often find some sort of sense of community within those environments,” he said. “So, the idea that [online] is a direct or even a partial substitute for the online experience that’s typically at home, it’s not obvious that that’s the case…It just didn’t seem like there was any material impact from online gaming legalization on retail gaming, in all the markets that we studied.”
Additionally, Benjie Levy, the president and chief operating officer of theScore Bet told PlayCanada that online gambling had not cannibalized casino revenue in the four US states where theScore is live. Rather, it’s an “additive” to the commercial market. “We’re not seeing job losses, and we’re seeing the market in totality grow,” he said.
Myth #2: Online casino games are rigged
Playing digital casino games via an app or website can leave some gamblers with the false impression the games are rigged. In-person gambling on a slot machine or with a live dealer at a casino seems more legitimate to some. Yet, legal, regulated online gambling games provide Return To Player statistics to indicate what percentage of money goes back to gamblers.
Also, all casino games are regularly tested and certified for fairness. A reputable casino lists its games’ theoretical RTP while publishing actual payout rates, certified by independent gaming labs and testing authorities.
The amount a casino pays across its games is essential in assessing its overall value. RTP is always a good indicator of the fairness and integrity of games.
Since Illinois has not, yet, legalized online casinos, let’s look at two nearby jurisdictions — Michigan and Ontario — as an example of how to find a game’s RTP. In both locations, most games have an area that indicates game rules and/or settings that normally has a menu gamblers can click to see the RTP for that game.
Tip #1: Players should look for games that have an RTP of more than 97%.
Tip #2: Always gamble with a gaming operator that is legal and regulated in Illinois. If you take your chances playing on an unregulated option such as an offshore casino, there aren’t any guarantees or protections.
Myth #3: You’ll never get paid if you win
If you stick to tip #2 above and only gamble with operators that are legal and regulated in Illinois, getting paid will not be a worry. It’s the law.
The Illinois Gaming Board has rules ensuring winning gamblers are paid. While Illinois online casinos are not, yet, legal. Look at the rules governing online sportsbooks in the state. You can also see read the full Sports Wagering Act.
It’s important to know the legal operators. For online sports betting in Illinois, there are currently seven legal options:
Betting with anyone else is a risk.
Myth #4: The games freeze if you are winning too much
Simply put: It’s not in the best interest of the gambling operator to freeze or slow online games.
Why? The basic principle of gambling is the odds are in the gambling operator’s favor. That means that if one gambles long enough, the house will win. That also means gambling operators want to prolong your play — not freeze or slow it — to try to make money.
That doesn’t mean you can’t win. Of course you can.
But when playing online, technology can fail during play for any number of reasons, including:
- A slow or dropped Internet connection.
- Your device or computer crashing.
- A power outage.
- A technology failure at the operator’s end.
But, none of those reasons are indicative of an operator freezing or slowing your games on purpose.
Also, there is nothing to worry about if you have a game stuck in the middle of play. The casino server knows when the game has stopped. When you restart the casino software, normally, you will pick back up where it left off.
Myth #5: There is no way to ensure Illinois online gamblers are 21 or older
Gambling in Illinois is restricted to people 21 or older. But that’s easy to get around when gambling online, right?
In order to register for an Illinois online sportsbook, users must enter their names, date of birth and the last four digits of their social security numbers. Everything must match and check out before a person can open an account.
Naturally, the same age-verification protocol would apply to online casinos if they come to the Land of Lincoln.