Illinois Sports Betting

Latest Illinois sports betting news, best apps and promo offers
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Dave Briggs
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Fact checked by Dave Briggs

Ever since Illinois legalized online sports betting, the state has consistently ranked as one of the top-earning markets in the country. Currently eight Illinois online sportsbooks are available to bettors, among them the Illinois-based BetRivers plus other big operators including Caesars, BetMGM, FanDuel, and DraftKings.

With so many sports betting options available for those 21 or older, Illinois has a lot to offer. On this page, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Illinois sports betting, including information about welcome bonuses, deposit methods, allowed bet types, and much more.

Top Illinois sports betting apps 2024

Illinois sports betting updates

May 29, 2024

Page contents

Comparing the best Illinois sports betting apps

There are eight high-quality sportsbook apps in Illinois — and several more to come. But not all are created equal. Each offers its own set of innovations, unique features, benefits, and bonuses. Some have loyalty programs that work at casinos. Others keep things competitive with odds.

Here are some features where certain sportsbooks stand out, including mini-reviews of the top five Illinois sports betting apps:


 

Caesars Sportsbook Illinois

1. Caesars Sportsbook

What We Think: Caesars brings with it an extensive list of markets and a host of experiences. While the app itself has some issues with lag time, speed, and navigation, Caesars does offer better juice on MLB lines than most sportsbooks.


 

2. BetMGM Sportsbook

What We Think: BetMGM has a very smooth customer experience and is known to cater to its local audience with boosts and promotions. Cashing out and depositing is especially easy, and it’s simple to find your preferred game or sport on the app.


 

3. FanDuel Sportsbook

What We Think: If you’re a big fan of parlays, FanDuel is the place to go. Its Same Game Parlay feature is easy to use, and the app is very user-friendly in general. FanDuel also frequently offers odds boosts for the biggest games. Look out for some Chicago Bulls-specific promotions, as FanDuel is their official sports betting partner. FanDuel also offers NFL Sunday Ticket discounts, an obvious perk for football fans in Illinois.


 

DraftKings Sportsbook Illinois

4. DraftKings Sportsbook

What We Think: The market leader in Illinois by handle, the DraftKings app is extremely easy to navigate and has a smooth interface. DraftKings consistently offers the most markets of any sportsbook and quickly gets lines up. Its search feature is also a nice perk that allows users to find their preferred game easily.


 

5. BetRivers Sportsbook

What We Think: BetRivers quietly has some of the best profit boosts in the Illinois market, as you can receive 20% or more money on winning bets simply by logging into the app on certain days of the week. The official partner of the Chicago Bears, BetRivers is also known to offer Bears-centered promotions.

Snapshot of legal Illinois sports betting

Here are some fast facts about legal sports betting in the Prairie State:

  • Sports Betting Legalized: June 2019
  • Online Launch: June 2020
  • Number of Retail Sportsbooks: 11
  • Number of Online Sportsbooks: 8
  • Legal Betting Age: 21

Other apps coming to Illinois

Illinois sportsbook apps are anticipated to grow and expand. These brands are the most likely to arrive at some point:

  • Hard Rock
  • Bally Bet (license pending for the upcoming Chicago casino)

Bonuses and bonus bet offers

One of the most significant differences between online sportsbooks compared with retail is the prevalence of Illinois sportsbook bonuses. Because the competition is only a few clicks away, online sportsbooks have to work harder to keep customers interested, happy, and loyal.

Online SportsbookBonus Offer
Caesars Sportsbook IL Bonus Code First Bet on Caesars
BetMGM Sportsbook IL Bonus Code First Bet Offer
FanDuel Sportsbook IL Bonus CodeBet $5, Get in Bonus Bets if Your Bet Wins PLUS a Daily Boost or Bonus All Summer
DraftKings Sportsbook IL Bonus Code Bonus
BetRivers Sportsbook IL Bonus Code Second-chance bet

Here are some of the most common types of promotions you’ll encounter at Illinois betting sites:

  • No Deposit Bonuses: One of the best types of promotions is the no-deposit bonus. You don’t have to deposit a dime to take advantage of the action. They are most common for new players as an enticement to register for an account.
  • Deposit/Match/Reload Bonuses: These bonuses all function the same and involve the sportsbook matching a portion or all of your deposit amount with its own money. You will usually have to play through the bonus money to a certain degree before you can withdraw it.
  • Insurance/Cash-Back: These are bonuses that compensate for losses on specific bets or during certain periods. They are usually distributed for net losses only, thus the best they can do is help you break even.
  • Event Bonuses: These bonuses are specified for a player or team achievements, like goals or scores of a specific type, and may pay a flat amount to you each time they occur during a game.
  • Loyalty Programs: These programs reward customers for continued patronage. You receive perks and bonuses, depending upon the aggregate total amount of wagers you make on the site.
  • bonus bets: These vouchers allow a wager of a particular value on specific bets. The bonuses are often given for the completion of tasks that the sportsbook specifies.

How online sports betting works in Illinois

Registering online is a simple process that should take no more than a few minutes. Be sure to have your documents handy to verify your age and location.

Let’s walk through the steps on how to sign up online for one of the sportsbooks in Illinois:

  1. Register for a new account.
  2. Use the sportsbook bonus/promo code.
  3. Deposit funds.
  4. Place a bet.

What you cannot bet on in Illinois

Sports bettors 21 years or older can bet on professional and collegiate sports in Illinois, as well as on international sporting events. However the law imposes restrictions on certain types of wagers. Illinois, sports operator licensees cannot accept wagers on:

  • A minor league sporting event
  • A sports event involving an Illinois collegiate team (mobile-only, retail is allowed)
  • A K-12th grade sports event
  • A non-sports event (i.e., an event that is not “a professional sport or athletic event, a collegiate sport or athletic event, a motor race event” or other events authorized by the Illinois Gaming Board)

That latter restriction against betting on non-sports events prohibits accepting wagers on events such as the Academy Awards (permitted in some states, like New Jersey and neighboring Indiana).

Additionally, there are some limits on the types of betting on college sports. Individual props are not allowed, nor is in-game betting on college events.

Is the DraftKings Wrigley Field Sportsbook open?

Yes. The DraftKings Sportsbook at Wrigley Field opened on June 27, 2023. It started taking bets at the beginning of the 2024 MLB season.

FanDuel and its United Center Sportsbook which opened (without betting) in November of 2022 still awaits approval from the Illinois Gaming Board to begin accepting wagers.

FanDuel may not be in a hurry to have the United Center operate as an official sportsbook. A licensing fee for that privilege costs $10 million. All that really gets you is the right to offer the only sportsbook at or within a five-block radius for four years. Only one sportsbook can be tied to each of the professional sports facilities. So, that provides exclusivity at least in the physical space.

After the initial four years, the renewal fee is a further $1 million every four years.

That’s a lot of money for little more than the right to bet in person at, or near, a sports facility, especially when you consider 96% of sports betting in Illinois has been conducted online since the activity has been legal.

The real value in the Wrigley Field Sportsbook is that DraftKings is tying itself to the iconic Cubs brand and stadium. Other than that, the sportsbook operator and the team are essentially getting an elaborate billboard and the opportunity to make some money from food and beverage.

Chicago sports and teams

Illinois is home to eight major professional sports franchises, all of which are in Chicago. Illinois has been the home of several great sports teams in history. Here is a brief rundown of the major league teams that call the Prairie State home:

  • Chicago Cubs (MLB)
    • Won the 2016 World Series
    • One of the original teams in the National League (1876)
  • Chicago White Sox (MLB)
    • Won the 2005 World Series
    • Originally known as the White Stockings
  • Chicago Fire (MLS)
    • Won the MLS Cup in 1998 in their first year of existence
    • The name recognizes the famous Chicago disaster; colors reminiscent of fire departments
  • Chicago Bulls (NBA)
    • Won six NBA championships in the 1990s
    • Primary NBA team for Michael Jordan, widely recognized as the greatest basketball player ever
  • Chicago Bears (NFL)
    • Won nine pre-merger NFL championships and one Super Bowl (1985)
    • Have more players in the NFL Hall of Fame than any other team
  • Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)
    • Have won six Stanley Cup championships, including three since 2010
    • Named after Sauk Native American warrior Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak
  • Chicago Red Stars (NWSL)
    • They appeared in the first league finals in 2019
    • The name was chosen by fan vote
  • Chicago Sky (WNBA)
    • Won 2021 league championship
    • Won 2014 conference championship
    • One of few WNBA teams without NBA team affiliation

Retail sports betting in Illinois

Illinois is home to 11 sportsbooks at local casinos, with more on the way. Sportsbooks in Chicago are also available at the United Center, Wrigley Field and Bally’s Chicago casino. The FanDuel Sports Lounge at the United Center is open during games but not taking bets yet. However, he DraftKings Sports Lounge at Wrigley Field has finally opened its doors to bettors with the start of the 2024 baseball season.

Here are the places where you can bet on sports in Illinois right now. In addition to the following, PointsBet hosts two retail locations via Club Hawthorne off-track betting sites.

  • Hollywood Casino, Aurora (Barstool)
  • Rivers Casino, Des Plaines (BetRivers)
  • Grand Victoria Casino, Elgin (Caesars)
  • Casino Queen, East St. Louis (DraftKings)
  • Par-A-Dice Casino, East Peoria (FanDuel)
  • FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing, Collinsville
  • Hawthorne Race Course, Stickney (PointsBet)
  • Argosy Casino, Alton (Unibet)
  • Hollywood Casino, Joliet

Coming soon:

  • The Temporary by American Place, Waukegan (Circa)
  • Hard Rock Rockford (Hard Rock Bet)
  • United Center (FanDuel)
  • Bally’s temporary casino at the Medinah Temple (BallyBet)
  • American Place by Full House Resorts permanent casino (Circa 2025)
  • Bally’s Chicago permanent casino (BallyBet 2026)

Illinois sports betting history

Sports betting is legal in Illinois, both in retail locations and online. The Illinois Gaming Board regulates sports betting in the state. Casinos and racetracks can apply for a license to operate sportsbooks, but so can sports venues with a seating capacity of 17,000 or more.

Since the inception of legal sports betting, the state has seen more than $23 billion in total bets. You can find more information about Illinois sports betting revenue here.

Read on for a brief rundown of all that has happened in Illinois sports betting since 2019:

2023

In June, Illinois was one of just two states showing year-over-year growth in sports betting.

Illinois appears ready to welcome three new online sportsbooks — Circa, Hard Rock, and Betway.

In July, Barstool Sportsbook relaunched using its own tech platform as provided by its Canadian partner theScore Bet.

Earlier in July, Fanatics won the right to purchase PointsBet’s US operations. Fanatics is expected to take over PointsBet’s Illinois operations in 2024.

In June, DraftKings opened its sportsbook at Wrigley Field. As of now, the space is an elaborate sports lounge as it waits for IGB approval to begin taking sports bets.

In May, the Illinois sports betting industry continued to solidify itself as the second-biggest sports betting market in the United States. Illinois is now consistently second in both handle and revenue behind only New York.

2022

Nearly $10 billion was bet through legal Illinois sportsbooks in 2022. For the year, Illinois sports betting revenue was exactly $9,751,301,251.

December marked the third straight month Illinois sports betting handle topped $1 billion. That includes a then-record $1.03 billion in handle in November which was close to the October handle which topped $1 billion for the first time.

The start of the NFL season in September had a huge impact on sports betting in the state. Month-over-month, Illinois sports betting handle rose nearly $267 million or 47%. Illinois is second in the nation in 2022 revenue through September and third in handle.

On March 5, online sports betting registration became possible again in the Land of Lincoln. Also, BetMGM Sportsbook went live in Illinois.

2021

Illinois recorded more than $7 billion in sports betting handle in 2021, which was the third-highest mark in the US. But Pritzker brought back in-person registration in April, and that policy lasted throughout the rest of the year. Barstool was the only new online sportsbook to launch.

2020

In March, Rivers Casino accepted the first legal sports bet ahead of March Madness. Shortly thereafter, all Illinois casinos closed for several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But once sports leagues started up again in the summer, a few online sportsbooks launched. Illinois would have online registration from late August through the end of the year. In December, Illinois set a then-handle record of $491.7 million in bets.

2019

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed the Sports Wagering Act into law in June. The law included an 18-month “penalty box” provision, which would not allow online sports betting registration. Illinois sporting venues could apply for retail sports betting licenses, but betting on Illinois college teams would not be allowed.

Responsible gambling resources in Illinois

PlayIllinois maintains a responsible gambling page here.

The most prominent responsible gambling organization in the state is the Illinois Council on Problem Gambling (ICPG).

You can call 833-937-ICPG (4274) or email [email protected] for information about their services. They can connect you with a counselor local to you, for example. The ICPG isn’t the only organization available for people with compulsive gambling issues in IL.

The National Problem Gambling Hotline is another great resource.

The number to call is 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537). You can text them at 800GAM and access a chat service at 1800gamblerchat.org. 

The organization that operates that hotline, the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), is available at 202-547-9204.

You can choose to remain anonymous when inquiring about services. All these resources are free.

Gamblers Anonymous is a support group for people who deal with gambling problems of their own. In Illinois, call  855-2CALLGA (855-222-5542)

If you don’t have a gambling problem but know someone who does, there is support for you as well. Information about Gam-Anon is available at 718-352-1671 or via email at [email protected].

Legal gambling tax dollars also go to fund programs for people with compulsive gambling issues. All licensed gaming companies in Illinois contribute to and participate in these programs.

Self-help resources

• Gamblers Anonymous (www.gamblersanonymous.org)
A fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from a gambling problem.

• Gam-Anon (www.gam-anon.org)
A self-help organization for the spouse, family, or close friends of compulsive gamblers.

 GamTalk (www.gamtalk.org)
A 24/7 moderated online peer support forum.

Illinois sports betting FAQ

Yes, sports betting is legal in Illinois, thanks to the passage and signing of the Sports Wagering Act (230 ILCS 45) in 2019. It is legal for Illinois residents and visitors to participate in sports betting both online and in person.

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.

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.

Unlike illegal offshore sportsbooks, which are risky, 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.

There are now seven mobile sports betting apps in Illinois, including BetMGM, DraftKings and FanDuel, using your mobile devices. Plus, as many as three more operators appear to be coming — Circa, Hard Rock and Betway.

You can also visit most Illinois casinos to bet at a retail sportsbook, including DraftKings at Casino Queen in East St. Louis, FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing in Collinsville, Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, and Hollywood Casino in Aurora.

Yes, DraftKings Illinois Sportsbook is legal in the state and launched both online and retail sportsbooks in August 2020.

Yes, the FanDuel Illinois Sportsbook app went live on Aug. 28, 2020.

Yes, the BetMGM Illinois sportsbook went online on March 5, 2022.

Yes, the Caesars Illinois sportsbook is legal. It launched in September 2020.

Yes, the “hometown” sportsbook is live and legal in the state. BetRivers Illinois sportsbook launched on March 9, 2020.

No. Betting at an Illinois sportsbook from outside the state is prohibited. Sportsbooks are required to employ geolocation software to verify every player’s location on the site.

Sportsbooks that fail to comply with this requirement will risk fines and sanctions from oversight agencies. So, there will never be a time that the books will take out-of-state play lightly.

Yes, but only at retail locations. Online sportsbooks are prohibited from offering bets on Illinois college teams.

If you’re 21 or older, you can legally bet on sports in person and online. You must have a valid state ID in order to do so.

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