Legal, regulated online gambling is well-established in Illinois. But how can residents protect themselves from falling victim to illegal black market gambling sites?
There are a ton of offshore and illegal gambling sites on the Internet, and it may be difficult for casual bettors to figure out which ones can be trusted or not.
Thankfully, the Illinois Gaming Board has put parameters in place so that legal Illinois online gambling operators make it clear that they are approved to operate in the state.
The sports betting industry giants, like DraftKings and FanDuel, have earned a reputation as trusted and reputable sites. However, with new and, in some cases, lesser-known operators coming entering the fray, it stands to reason that customers may be a bit apprehensive about expansion.
Why you want to avoid black market sites
Giving your credit card number to an illegal site is a shockingly bad idea. Fraud can easily happen since these sites are located offshore. Also, there is no guarantee you will be paid if you win while gambling.
And, you have no protection under the law if you choose to gamble on a black market site and you don’t get paid or your credit card number is compromised.
So, why would you do it?
Plus, when you gamble on legal Illinois sites, tax revenue from the activity stays in the state and is used to improve infrastructure. Not so with black market sites. All of the money you gamble leaves the United States.
Checking if an online sports betting site is legal in Illinois
Nowadays, a majority of people engaged in Illinois sports betting use mobile apps or online sites. They are more convenient than having to go to a land-based facility in person, especially if you live far away from one. Location and time no longer limit players when it comes to enjoying sports betting.
While online access has made sports betting quite accessible, it can be challenging to tell which ones are legal. The Illinois Gaming Board advises people to check to be sure they are making a safe bet with a legal sports wagering operator that is authorized in Illinois before placing any wager.
The board said those that bet on sports in Illinois should always check the Illinois Gaming Board website’s Sports Wagering Applicants & Licensees page to ensure that the entity with whom they are placing a bet with is a legal sports wagering operator holding either a Temporary Operating Permit or a license.
One easy thing you can do to tell if a gambling site is legal in Illinois is to look for licensing information on the site or app. All legit betting sites hold licenses from respected authorities wherever they are approved to operate. Usually, they provide details regarding their licensing and regulation at the bottom of their official pages. Also, if you ask them to provide additional information about the same, their customer services teams should be able to do so.
Legal online sports betting operators in Illinois
One way to ensure you are gambling with a legal IL sportsbook is to know the players.
There are currently seven legal Illinois online sportsbooks, but soon some of the names will change and a few others will be added.
Right now, the legal operators are:
- DraftKings Illinois
- FanDuel IL
- BetRivers Sportsbook Illinois
- Caesars Illinois
- BetMGM IL
- PointsBet Illinois
- Barstool Illinois
However, Fanatics has made a deal to purchase all of PointsBet’s US sports betting operation, including Illinois. Look for Fanatics to launch in Illinois in 2024 after receiving Illinois Gaming Board approval.
Also, Barstool Sportsbook will be replaced by ESPN Bet in Illinois. That could happen in 2023, but the deal also needs the approval of the IGB.
In terms of new operators to Illinois, Hard Rock Bet and Circa Sportsbook are expected to launch in the Prairie State this fall. As well, Betway could be coming to the Illinois sports betting market. It has been approved to apply for an online-only IL sportsbook license. There is no timetable, yet, for launch if Betway does seek to become licensed.
Online casino gambling still a problem
There are clear avenues to find legal sports betting sites in Illinois. But, illegal online casino gambling is still an issue. Online casinos are prohibited in the state, and efforts to change that during the most recent legislative session fell through.
A PlayIllinois study concluded Illinois could be losing out on as much as $105 million in tax revenue annually by not legalizing Illinois online casinos. Online gambling is becoming more and more popular across the country. So online casinos are likely to become legal in Illinois sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile, Marcus Fruchter, the administrator of the Illinois Gaming Board, is calling on the federal government to crack down on illegal offshore online gambling. Fruchter sent a letter to US Attorney General Merrick Garland urging for a more significant push to combat illegal gambling. The letter was also signed by leaders of six other gaming regulatory bodies:
- New Jersey
The Department of Justice has yet to make any significant changes to address the issue since the letter was sent out.